Friday 13 April 2018

The Generation Game by Sophie Duffy @sophiestenduffy #BlogTour @Legend_Press #TheGenerationGame

Philippa Smith is in her forties and has a beautiful newborn baby girl. She also has no husband, and nowhere to turn. So she turns to the only place she knows: the beginning. Retracing her life, she confronts the daily obstacles that shaped her very existence. From the tragic events of her childhood abandonment, to the astonishing accomplishments of those close to her, Philippa learns of the sacrifices others chose to make, and the outcome of buried secrets. 

Philippa discovers a celebration of life, love, and the Golden era of television. A reflection of everyday people, in not so everyday situations.

The Generation Game by Sophie Duffy was re-issued by Legend Press on 5 April 2018, with this absolutely beautiful and perfectly fitting new cover.

As part of the Blog Tour, I'm thrilled to welcome the author here to Random Things today, she's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life In Books.

My Life in Books - Sophie Duffy

Like many Generation X children I learnt to read with the legendary Ladybird books, many of which I still have. (And I’m really enjoying the new spoofs. Genius.)

I progressed to Enid Blyton who was my go to author for many years so I’ll start with her.
Malory Towers by Enid Blyton. Despite not loving school being the quiet child that I was, I thoroughly enjoyed this fictional boarding school. Adventures, friendships, pranks, midnight feasts, I wanted to be a pupil there though I probably wouldn’t have lasted a day.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend. I read this when it first came out. I was 12 and fell in love with Sue Townsend, if not Adrian. But I’ve grown up with him and he feels like my hapless friend. I still think about Adrian even though Sue Townsend has sadly passed away. I wonder what he’s up to now?

Riders by Jilly Cooper was a revelation. A romping blockbuster, it reflected the excesses of Thatcher’s Britain. It was shared out at school, especially the dirty bits. Jilly Cooper’s novels still make me hoot with laughter.

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. I had to study this for English A Level back in the day and I loved it – unlike the rest of the texts we had to do. Maggie Tulliver is such a brilliantly created female character, the anti-thesis of a Victorian heroine – messy, chaotic, spontaneous – but it’s the complex relationship she has with her brother, Tom, that shines throughout.

The Life and Loves of a She Devil by Fay Weldon. Such a powerful and remarkable story told with a razor-sharp voice. Part fairy tale, part Feminist tract, this is a unique novel (and a unique TV drama). It appealed very much to student me at Lancaster in my Docs in the late 80s doing English and Women Studies.

Anita and Me by Meera Syal. This is a special book full of warmth and charm but one that addresses racism and what it’s like to be brought up as a first generation immigrant in this country. I’m so glad it’s a GCSE text. I read it when it first came out in the cultural wilderness years of the 90s when I was teaching and having babies.

Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson is probably my all time top read. I revisit it again and again and never tire of it. Ruby Lennox is a narrator full of wit and poignancy. Light and shade run throughout all of Atkinson’s novels but her debut is still my favourite. (Though Jackson Brodie, her detective of later novels, is heart-flutteringly sublime.) This novel made me realise I wanted to write books that would make people laugh and cry.

After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell. This is a book about grief and the light that can follow the darkest days. It never fails to make me weep. Beautifully written. Having been well-acquainted with bereavement, this book has touched me deeply.

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym. I came late to Barbara Pym after a reader of mine said ‘This Holey Life’ was written in a similar style (in my dreams!). I devoured all of her novels and absolutely love her mixture of humour and pathos. The small things in everyday life really do reflect the big things of what it is to be human.

Learning to Swim by Clare Chambers. When I first read this book I felt like I’d found a writer I could totally relate to, possibly because we are of a similar age and background. And Clare Chambers always chooses the perfectly unexpected verb.

We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Not an easy read but a book group choice that has stayed with me over the last decade because it sparked such debate. About a high school massacre (though not gun related), it asks the question ‘are we born or made evil?’. Highly relevant in the current troubling times in the USA.

I’ve just realised these books are all written by women – which my student self would very much approve of. In the words of Enid Blyton: Hurrah!
Sophie Duffy - April 2018 

About the author - from
I'm a Devon girl and currently live in Dawlish, the seaside town with a railway train that tends to fall into the sea. I have three grown-up children who have partly fled the nest and I am often to be found up the lanes dragged by two Tibetan Terriers.  I've had many jobs over the years, including working in Greenwich dole office and pounding the streets as an Avon lady, before becoming a teacher. I specialised in early years in south east London and then in Worthing. I got a bit bored in Sussex and took a creative writing evening class which led to an MA which I did at Lancaster University by distance learning from 2002-2004. I got the writing bug and fell in love with the novel. 

My first breakthrough was in 2006 when The Generation Game won the Yeovil Literary Prize as a work-in-progress. My second novel This Holey Life was runner-up of The Harry Bowling Prize in 2008. Finally, The Generation Game won the Luke Bitmead Award in 2010 and was first published by Legend Press in August 2011. It is being re-launched in April 2018. This Holey Life was published in 2012 and Bright Stars in 2015, both by Legend Press. My fourth, Betsy and Lilibet will also be published by Legend in October. My alter ego is Lizzie Lovell and her first novel will be published in July by Allen and Unwin. It's called The Juniper Gin Joint and it's about ... gin. 

I am part of CreativeWritingMatters, a writing school based in Exeter, but with international reach, run by the wonderful Cathie Hartigan and alongside Margaret James. We offer manuscript appraisals, mentoring and workshops. We administer the Exeter Novel Prize and the Exeter Story Prize as well as other writing competitions.

I am represented by Broo Doherty of DHH Literary Agency.

1 comment:

  1. Hurrah indeed! Lots of great choices. I loved Mallory Towers too and am a huge fan of Kate Atkinson and Maggie O'Farrell.