DAY 25: Helen Simpson

Born in Bristol, Helen Simpson lived in Wealdstone, north London, until she was seven and then in a suburb of Croydon, where she went to school.  She read English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford and gained a M.Litt. for her thesis on Restoration farce. After university she lived in south London, working for five years as a staff writer on Vogue magazine, having won one of its annual talent contests.  During this time she also wrote two recipe books while finishing her thesis, researching all in the old British Museum Reading Room after work.  She had always been working in her own time on short stories and once these started to be published on a regular basis she went freelance, also contributing features to newspapers and magazines.  In 1989 she had the first of her two children, and in 1990 published her first short story collection, Four Bare Legs in a Bed.  Since then, she has published a new collection every five years; the latest, Cockfosters (2015), is the sixth.

Further reading

Read: Wurstigkeit in Barcelona Review

Review: Cockfosters in the Guardian

Discover more:

Resource: Useless chaos is what fiction is all about in Granta

Writing prompt: