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  • Virago
  • Hachette Audio
  • Virago

Stop the Clocks: Thoughts on What I Leave Behind

Joan Bakewell

4 Reviews

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Memoirs, Prose: non-fiction

Now in her eighties, one of Britain's finest and most spirited women looks back on her life.

Joan Bakewell has led a varied, sometimes breathless life: she has been a teacher, copywriter, studio manager, broadcaster, journalist, the government's Voice of Older People and chair of the theatre company Shared Experience. She has written four radio plays, two novels and an autobiography ­- The Centre of The Bed. Now in her 80s, she is still broadcasting. Though it may look as though she is now part of the establishment - a Dame, President of Birkbeck College, a Member of the House of Lords as Baroness Bakewell of Stockport - she's anything but and remains outspoken and courageous. In Stop the Clocks, she muses on all she has lived through, how the world has changed and considers the things and values she will be leaving behind.

Stop the Clocks is a book of musings, a look back at what she was given by her family, at the times in which she grew up - ranging from the minutiae of life such as the knowledge of how to darn and how to make a bed properly with hospital corners, to the bigger lessons of politics, of lovers, of betrayal. She talks of the present, of her family, of friends and literature - and talks too of what she will leave behind. This is a thoughtful, moving and spirited book as only could be expected from this extraordinary woman.

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Praise for Stop the Clocks: Thoughts on What I Leave Behind

  • A wry analysis of the world she will leave - Observer

  • Heartfelt and fiendishly smart - Sunday Telegraph

  • Companionable and insightful . . . by turns entertaining, frank and - when dealing with death and loss - unflinching. It is, then, true to the spirit of a most accomplished woman, who has always had the knack of making whatever she does look easy. When it comes to facing down old age with such style and honesty, that is perhaps the most impressive achievement of all - Herald

  • She writes as sensitively as George Orwell . . . Bakewell is an advertisement for active survival - New Statesman

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Joan Bakewell

Joan Bakewell was born in Stockport in 1933, the daughter of an engineer, granddaughter of working-class artisans. She was the first in her family to go to university and only the second woman from her grammar school to attend Cambridge, where her circle included Frederick Raphael, Peter Hall, Michael Frayn, Mark Boxer and Jonathan Miller. Her long and illustrious career in broadcasting has included being the only woman presenter on BBC TV's Late Night Line Up, being Arts Correspondent for Newsnight, Chair of the BFI, and presenting series such as Heart of the Matter and My Generation.

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