British Author of short-stories (1959-)

Born at Bristol in 1959 Helen Simpson read English at Oxford University, where she wrote her thesis on the subject of Restoration farce. Her writing career began when she entered a competition run by the fashion magazine Vogue which involved writing a story of your life in seven hundred words. She invented the life story and won the first prize of a job with Vogue. Simpson remained at Vogue as a staff writer for the next five years until she decided to go freelance, contributing articles and short stories to newspapers and magazines as well as writing two cookery books.

Her first collection of short stories appeared in 1990; three more collection have since appeared at regular intervals of five years. In addition to writing fiction she also provided libretto for the opera Good Friday, 1663 screened on Channel 4 television, wrote the lyrics for the jazz suite Bar Utopia, and has written plays for both stage and for radio.

She has two children and lives in London.

Prizes and Awards

Her first collection of short stories, Four Bare Legs in a Bed and Other Stories won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and a Somerset Maugham Award, while Hey Yeah Right Get a Life won the Hawthornden Prize in 2001. She was also awarded the E. M. Forster Award in 2002 by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


A:Short Story collections

Her novella Flesh and Grass appears together with Strawberry Tree by Ruth Rendell in Unguarded Hours Pandora, 1990



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