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Paton Walsh, Jill

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(British, 1937– )

Jill Paton Walsh, initially established as a highly successful children's writer, has also published eight books for adults. Knowledge of Angels (1994), a moving meditation on spirituality, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Set in medieval times (the exact date is deliberately unspecified) on Grandinsula, an island housing a self-enclosed Christian community, the novel raises uncomfortable questions about religion as it tells the interconnected stories of a child found amongst wolves and misused in an attempt to prove the innate nature of God, and of a foreigner tried as a heretic by the Inquisition. Move on to The Serpentine Cave (1997), the account of a middle-aged woman's attempt to find out more about her father and about her own past following her mother's death.

Fay Weldon, Marina Warner  SR

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