Helen Gurley Brown became an “overnight” success in 1962 with her international bestseller Sex and the Single Girl. Editor of Cosmopolitan magazine for 32 years, when she finished she left her readers with three pieces of advice – read Bad girls go everywhere: the life of Helen Gurly Brown by Jennifer Scanlon to find out what they were.
Arthur Ransome is best remembered for Swallows and Amazons but previously he led a very different life in Russia as a spokesman for violence and oppression. The last Englishman: the double life of Arthur Ransome by Roland Chambers follows the transition to successful published children’s writer.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was adapted to a successful stage-play and film and the best known of Muriel Spark’s work. In 1992 she invited Martin Stannard to write her biography giving him full access to interviews and papers. Muriel Spark: the biography is the result and covers both the highlights and her darker moments.
Read about these people and others including Titian, Alan Bennett, Francis Coty in this month’s Biography Recent Picks.