Miranda Seymour is a novelist, biographer and critic. She has been a visiting professor at Nottingham Trent University. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, she lives both in London and at her family’s ancestral home in Nottinghamshire. Thrumpton Hall, situated 7 miles west of Nottingham, has become one of central England’s most sought-after venues for corporate events, weddings and parties.
Miranda Seymour began writing as a historical novelist, moving from fiction into biography during the 1980s with her remarkable group portrait of Henry James and his literary circle: A Ring of Conspirators.
OTTOLINE MORRELL ('Magnificent: you have not read a better biography for years' Daily Telegraph), based upon the unpublished original journals of Bloomsbury’s remarkable hostess, changed forever the way that this much ridiculed woman has been perceived. Absurd, glorious, gallant and enraging, Seymour’s marvellous Ottoline emerges from her groundbreaking biography as a heroine, victim and muse.
Her biography of ROBERT GRAVES ('The best and most balanced account of his life is Miranda Seymour's excellent biography' Evening Standard) was reissued by Simon and Schuster in August 2003 and again by Endeavour Press in 2013. Miranda subsequently wrote a novel, THE TELLING, based upon a particular episode in Graves’s life. THE TELLING was described by Pat Barker (The Regeneration Trilogy) as 'devastating. One of the most skilful depictions of the power of evil I have read.'
LIFE OF MARY SHELLEY, published in 2000, is now regarded as the definitive life of an extraordinary woman ('the most dazzling life of a female writer to have come my way for a decade' Financial Times).
In 2002, Miranda published A BRIEF HISTORY OF THYME, subsequently published in the US in March 2003, is an extraordinary and fascinating compendium of plant information: here you can discover what Homer's Greeks used as sleeping potions, why Henry VIII fined any farmer who refused to grow marijuana, and which herb the 72-year-old Queen of Hungary used to extract a proposal from the handsome King of Poland. This book will delight any cook or gardener, herbalist or lover of myths and folklore.
She also authored THE BUGATTI QUEEN - a beautifully written account of Hélène Delangle, also known as Hellé Nice, dancer, lover and record-breaking racing driver.
Miranda Seymour’s next book was a prize winning and unforgettable portrait of life with her father, IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE, which won the 2008 Pen Ackerley Memoir of the Year prize. The memoir was published as Thrumpton Hall by Harper Collins in the US, where it was widely reviewed and picked as a New York Times Book of the Year.
CHAPLIN'S GIRL, published in 2009, was primarily based on a wealth of unpublished taped interviews given by Virginia Cherrill, the actress who played the poignant blind heroine of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights. The book paints a deliciously spiky and vivid portrait of the unconventional and witty young woman who hated acting, left Cary Grant for the Maharajah of Jaipur, married a cold English earl and left him to run an avocado farm with an adoring Polish pilot, and also of the raffishly glamorous circle who fell under the spell of Cherrill’s warm-hearted charm. Derek Jacobi called the book ‘a delight from start to finish.’
Miranda Seymour’s most recent book is NOBLE ENDEAVOURS: Stories from England and Stories from Germany. A bold attempt to reclaim the neglected history of friendship between two countries that went – twice – to war – it is told through a wealth of unpublished memoirs and interviews that are interwoven to create a tapestry of tales that read as seductively as a novel. Frances Wilson wrote that it ‘expands like an accordion, stories opening into more stories, and the whole propelled by prose that is lean and intricate. The book, which could be read for style alone, is an education and a handshake not only with the past, but with the present. A noble endeavour, indeed.' Michael Frayn said 'Noble Endeavours is indeed a noble endeavour, encyclopaedic in its scope, beautifully organised and written, and very moving, as these two cousinly nations are driven asunder by war. A wonderful subject.'
Miranda Seymour’s novels include THE RELUCTANT DEVIL (out of print) was described as 'an enormous fun... an enchanting mix of fantasy and satire' (Guardian). She has also written four children’s books and has just completed a fifth.
Miranda is now working on a book about Lord Byron’s wife and his extraordinary daughter, Ada Lovelace.