OurShelves: Barbara Pym with Clare Chambers

Clare Chambers is the author of nine novels including Small Pleasures, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize. She joins Lucy Scholes to rave about the inimitable Barbara Pym, a Virago Modern Classic author whose love affairs shocked sixties society and who wrote about vicars’ tea parties with waspish humour and moving brilliance. (Tea: ‘a drink she did not much like because of the comfort it was said to bring to those whom she normally despised.’) Together they compare notes on adapting book to screen with Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends, how to evoke the inner voice and the recent, genre-defying book that made Clare think about feminism in a new way.


On the nightstand: The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson and Iron Curtain by Vesna Goldsworthy.

On my mind: The TV adaptation of Conversations with Friends.

On the shelf: In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado.

On the pedestal: Fiona Spargo-Mabbs, director of the DSM Foundation, which educates young people to make safer choices around drugs.


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