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Life, Love and The Archers

Love, Life and The ArchersA departure for the Gransnet book club with our April choice - this month, for the first time, non-fiction, with Wendy Cope's wonderful Life, Love and The Archers - Recollections, Reviews and Other Prose.

Wendy Cope has long been one of the nation's best-loved poets, with her sharp eye for human foibles and wry sense of humour. For the first time, Life, Love and The Archers brings together the best of her prose - recollections, reviews and essays from the light-hearted to the serious, taken from a lifetime of published and unpublished work, and all with Cope’s lightness of touch.

Here readers can meet the Enid-Blyton-obsessed schoolgirl, the ambivalent daughter, the amused teacher, the sensitive journalist, the cynical romantic and the sardonic television critic, as well as touching on books and writers who have informed a lifetime of reading and writing.

Wendy Cope is a master of the one-liner as well as the couplet, the telling review as well as the sonnet, and the book gives us a wonderfully entertaining and unforgettable portrait of one of England's unique and much-loved writers.

‘Funny, melancholy and devastatingly observant.’ HELEN DUNMORE


My speech attracted the attention of the other guests, most of whom were Californian academics on holiday in London. None of them had ever watched LA Law for as much as five minutes. One professor just couldn’t believe his ears. ‘You watch soaps?’ His amazement was polite, uncensorious and pure. ‘I write a column about television,’ I explained. Sometimes one is glad of the excuse.


‘You’re very brave,’ people keep telling me since I decided to give up my full-time job. They mean reckless and I often wish they’d stop frightening me with their congratulations.

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‘Whatever happens,’ said a friend of mine 15 years ago, ‘at least we’ll never be any older than Mick Jagger.’ It was a comforting thought at the time but it aroused mixed feelings on Saturday as I watched the Whistle Test Special on the Rolling Stones. We are, it is true, still younger than Mick but I am not at all sure that anyone would guess it to look at us.

Wendy Cope read history at Oxford and then worked for 15 years as a London primary school teacher. Her first book of poems, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis was published in 1986. Since then she has been a freelance writer. Her most recent book of poems is Family Values, published in 2011. She lives in Ely.

All our free copies of Life, Love and The Archers have now gone but you can buy it online and from all good booksellers. Remember - if you do get a free copy, don't forget to leave your comments and questions on the thread.