Did you miss me on The Book Show?

Here’s the link to watch it again! Daisy Goodwin on the Book Show with Mariella Frostrup

My Last Duchess has been picked for the TV Book Club!

Exciting news, My Last Duchess has been picked for the TV Book Club. It will be in very exalted company along with two Man Booker prize nominees! It will be wonderful finding out how readers react to the book. The show goes out in January on More4 and Channel 4.

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Saturday Live show

Did you hear me talking to Fi Glover and hear Luke Wright’s wonderful poem on Saturday Live last weekend? If not, you can listen to the Saturday Live Show here .

Review of My Last Duchess by Daisy Goodwin in the Express by Christine Williams

Review of My Last Duchess in the Daily Express

Review of My Last Duchess in the Daily Express

Review: My Last Duchess by Daisy Goodwin

Sunday October 17,2010
By Christine Williams

AMERICAN duchesses were quite the rage towards the end of the 19th century and Jenny Jerome, Sir Winston Churchill’s mother, is perhaps the best-known.
She was just one of the influx of vivacious, wealthy young women anxious to marry into the British aristocracy.

Welcomed with open arms by blue-blooded but bankrupt Lords, they brought money to rescue the stately homes of Britain and a freedom of manner that cut through some of the traditional rules of the day.

My Last Duchess is the story of the aptly-named heiress Cora Cash, who is propelled by her ambitious Mama into marriage with an English Duke. Not that Cora needed any prompting. No sooner does she set eyes on Ivo, the 9th Duke of Wareham, than she falls head over heels in love.

Daisy Goodwin’s first novel is rich in lavish detail and society gossip, with pages peopled by dashing young rakes, unscrupulous beauties and fashionable but predatory painters. All provide problems for our heroine as she embarks on married life.

It is Charlotte Beauchamp who proves to be Cora’s real enemy. Brought up by Ivo’s flirtatious, amoral mother Fanny (now married to her second duke), Charlotte is, frankly, jealous. She always wanted Ivo for herself but she is clever enough to conceal her emotions, befriend Cora and lead her into escapades calculated to endanger her marriage.

There is a touching sub-plot, introducing Cora’s devoted black maidservant. Transplanted from the deep South of America to a stately mansion in England, Bertha falls for manservant Jim. Their below-stairs romance, with its racial undertones makes an interesting contrast with the upstairs immorality of the nobility.

It is a romp of a book, with all the ingredients for a self-indulgent afternoon read. A well-written, brilliant first novel by a confident, skillful storyteller. It is pure, light-hearted, unpretentious entertainment.

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Review of My Last Duchess in the Daily Mail by Wendy Holden

Clever Daisy Goodwin as well. Not content with being a raven-haired TV poetry temptress, she’s written My Last Duchess. It’s a marvellously assured read about a marvellously assured American heiress called (appropriately) Cora Cash, one of those sexy buccaneers who took the impoverished British aristocracy by storm in the nineteenth century. It’s a literary Greatest Hits; there’s a mysterious duke, a woman in a veil and various secrets, as well as lashings of lovely period detail about dresses for yachting, opera and dinner. Heartily recommended; Goodwin writes beautifully; her easy style disguising both erudition and emotional truth.

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Easy Mix Book Review My Last Duchess by Daisy Goodwin

Read original article here

Ever since Henry James’s verbose tales of class warfare and fiscal machinations in nineteenth-century Britain and America found their first readers, stories of culture clashes between ambitious nouveau riche Yanks and their patch-protecting, old-monied European cousins have abounded.

The latest specimen is Daisy Goodwin’s frothy, engaging My Last Duchess, a debut novel she has taken a while to get around to, having established a successful career as a TV producer, predominantly with the BBC, after gaining a history degree from Cambridge University.

Her heroine, the woman who becomes the titular Duchess, is Cora Cash, an exceedingly wealthy American heiress coming of (marriageable) age in 1893 Rhode Island. Cora’s life is rigidly controlled by Mrs Cash, who holds lofty goals for her daughter and is unforgiving in the measures she takes to achieve them; when we first meet Cora, she is strapped from forehead to knee into a steel spine straightener designed to improve her posture.

After an early flirtation with another rich young American, Teddy van der Leyden, is thwarted, Cora, on a visit to Dorset in early 1894, meets cute with Ivo, Duke of Wareham, and marriage ensues.

Ivo attained his title upon the death of his father, having already endured the loss of his brother in an incident that he declines to discuss with Cora. Indeed, once the honeymoon glow has worn off it becomes apparent that Ivo is hiding rather a lot from his wife, and his abrupt departure for a months-long trip to Africa during her pregnancy intensifies her misgivings.

Into the fray Goodwin brings Ivo’s mother, known as the Double Duchess since her swift remarriage to a peer of the same caste as her first husband, and two colourful and narratively crucial characters, the vile Sir Odo (referred to in servants’ quarters as ‘Odious’) and his ravishing, inscrutable wife, Lady Charlotte Beauchamp.

The resulting events make for a pacy and absorbing read, with the appealing plot enhanced by the quality and extent of Goodwin’s research – she must, as a producer, have become accustomed to doing her homework, and that practice pays dividends in My Last Duchess.

There is the elaborate finery of the time – Cora enters married life with no fewer than 60 new dresses, handmade in Paris; two women seated next to one another at a dinner struggle to face one another in conversation due to the enormity of their fashionable mutton-chop sleeves – and the smaller accoutrements of a woman of Cora’s class, including a monogrammed dressing case whose contents are carefully listed.

Though the complement of supporting characters is a strong one, the rightful star is the Duchess herself, and it is entertaining to see what Cora is made of as she evolves from self-obsessed ingenue to wronged wife.

Compounding her burden is the task of managing her husband’s ancestral estate, Lulworth, which is less a grand home of the aristocracy than a hothouse of political manipulation and ancient loyalties in which Cora’s Americanness is viewed as an insurmountable handicap. In dealing to her foes, she may prove to be less unlike her fearsome mother than she – or we – thought.

The novel’s end, while not premature, is rather abrupt, and I hope Goodwin feels there is more story to be told. I don’t think the Duchess is quite done yet.

3 / 5 stars: A diverting tale of a steely dame.

Daisy Goodwin: A woman of substance (Independent 15th September)

Already TV’s face of poetry, award winning producer and ‘head girl’ of her own company, Daisy Goodwin has written her debut novel. She talks to Arifa Akbar
Read the original article in the Independent Newspaper here

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

On the money: Goodwin's historical novel 'My Last Duchess' was inspired by the excesses of the recent economic boom

On the money: Goodwin’s historical novel ‘My Last Duchess’ was inspired by the excesses of the recent economic boom

The reception area of Daisy Goodwin’s production company looks more like the entrance to a rambling family home than a matrix of steel-on-grey offices. A long sofa spreads itself across one end; a bicycle rests on another. The detritus of interior décor bric-a-brac – plants, cushions and books – is framed by a large-windowed view of central London. The “woman’s touch” to this place of industry becomes more apparent on arrival at the name-plaque on the door of the company’s CEO: “Head Girl”.

Goodwin, 48, the chief executive of the TV production company Silver River, is sitting on another cushion-thronged sofa, surrounded by yet more flowers, family photos, framed Bafta nominations (her winning Bafta and RTS gongs are tucked away at home), Pushkin novels and miniature glitter balls, bearing little of the outward bossiness of the archetypal “head girl”.

She has been ticked off for her job title on more than one occasion for its public-school prankishness, although it is not so much a prank as one might imagine; it has appeared on all her emails ever since she set up her company five years ago, and she defends it against charges of juvenility.

“I couldn’t face calling myself CEO of 10 people and I’m slightly suspicious of titles anyway. You can take the work seriously, but possibly not the structures. I got taken to task by Muriel Gray at the Edinburgh Book Festival once. She questioned whether the title was not demeaning for women. I don’t think it is. Women who run companies can do things differently; we don’t have to ape male corporate structures.”

Goodwin certainly appears to be a different kind of company boss. In between devising television shows, editing poetry anthologies and reading over 100 books in her outspoken tenure as this year’s chair of the Orange Prize (she expressed exasperation at having to sift through heaps of spiritually enervating “mis-lit” to get to the good stuff), she has been using up the remaining slivers of her free time with lunchtime trips to the London Library.

The result, three years later, is My Last Duchess, a fin de siècle romance about the marriages of convenience forged between a European aristocracy facing a cash-flow problem and American billionaire heiresses willing to exchange their fortunes for a marriage proposal that will buoy their social standing. The novel, which she will discuss on Sunday at The Independent Woodstock Literary Festival, has so far been likened by some readers to Henry James, but “without the boring bits.”

She was inspired to write it at the height of the economic boom, which came to an end in 2008, with its decadence and slew of Russian billionaires finding footholds in Europe. “It’s always fascinating that things you think are completely contemporary were there 200 years ago,” she says.

The aptly-named female protagonist, Cora Cash, is in part inspired by the real-life story of Consuelo Vanderbilt, a scion of the American billionaire dynasty whose marriage to the ninth Duke of Marlborough became an international emblem for socially advantageous unions.

Goodwin did not have to sketch out her character or storyboard the narrative. Cora, written to resemble one of Jane Austen’s spirited 19th-century heroines, was easy to conjure, she says, not least because she reminded Goodwin of herself.

“You find her reading [Austen’s] Emma at the beginning of the novel,” says Goodwin. “There are a lot of authors now who think the long-suffering heroine is passé, but one of the things I was thinking was that I wanted a heroine in my book, a woman who is the author of her own destiny. I based her on the poor little rich girl. I myself was spoilt and I kind of sympathised with her.”

Writing fiction was an ambition that had remained unfulfilled by what appears to have been her high-achiever’s performance anxiety. In the end, she was galvanised by the practical courage of Winston Churchill’s axiom not to let perfection stand in the way of the good, and the surplus of creative energy felt after the completion of her memoir, Silver River, in 2007. The memoir recalled an emotionally splintered childhood when, aged five, her mother left her film-producer father, Richard Goodwin, for another man.

The young Goodwin was sent to her grandmother’s house in the New Forest for two years with her brother, Jason, until a return to the family home in London following her father’s second marriage. Goodwin adapted and thrived, first at Westminster School, then Trinity College, Cambridge, where she read history and met her husband of nearly three decades, Marcus Wilford, a former foreign correspondent, until it all came home to roost when she had her first daughter, Ottilie, now 19.

Goodwin was struck by a debilitating depression as an outpouring of love for her baby collided with unresolved memories of her mother. The early childhood experience was no tragedy, she insists pragmatically, yet it left its fault-lines on her life and those of her siblings.

“After my parents divorced, I felt I was a double agent, going between West and East Berlin, between the two households. I sometimes think back to my five-year-old self. Children are pretty adaptable, but I was bewildered by it. I and my siblings have been with their partners for a long time. I’m sure that’s because of the divorce. You have a lot invested in a relationship.”

Her own family home in Hammersmith balances in a perfectly ordered state of chaos, she says, with Ottilie about to leave for university, her second daughter, Lydia, aged 10, ensconced at school. The only force of destruction, she adds, with a forgiving smile, are the three dogs – “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.

The home life, the award-winning TV programmes, the novel, were never part of a grand plan, she reflects. “I’m not driven in the sense that I’m like Anna Wintour and I get up to play tennis when it’s still dark. I’m a girl who just can’t say no. What I really enjoy is doing something new; I’m on the side of doing things that don’t conform. I can’t bear authority.”

It may have been her aversion to corporate structures that led to her television career’s momentary blip when, aged 27, she was sacked from the BBC. She had been the corporation’s rising star, joining them after two years of studying film at Columbia University, when her contract was, ignominiously, not renewed.

“Looking back, it was probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I was cocky and clever, a rising star, and I think I expected to rise effortlessly. I realised that to be good, you don’t just have to be clever, but smart – and get people to like you. It was a good lesson. I got another job ten seconds later, but I was a bit devastated at the time.

“I remember going to a restaurant in Westbourne Grove and a man came up to me to ask whether I was looking for work, and that I looked like I could be a really good waitress. At the time, the BBC was full of ghastly old men. It’s changed now, but it was the first time I encountered sexism. The all-male crews were not interested in listening to me and I thought ‘is this what the real world is like?’ ”

She decided to become her own “head girl”, and after a stint in the independent sector, working for Peter Fincham at Talkback Productions, she set up Silver River. “I thought people like me were better off doing things on their own. That’s why so many women set up their own companies.”

Daisy Goodwin will be talking to the editor-in-chief of ‘The Independent’, Simon Kelner, at the Woodstock Literary Festival, at Blenheim Palace, at 11am on Sunday 19 Sept

Daisy Goodwin, author and television producer

From: Daily Telegraph | By Jessica Salter

Daisy Goodwin at home

Daisy at home

Daisy Goodwin, 48, began her career as a producer at the BBC working on arts and history documentaries. After 10 years she joined the production company Talkback, where she made programmes such as How Clean is Your House and Grand Designs; then in 2005 she started her own production company, Silver River, best known for producing the sitcom Pulling.

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Meet Daisy – Literary Festivals

DAISY GOODWIN will be speaking about The American Heiress at Bookhampton, 93 Main Street Southampton NY 11968 on Friday August 19th at 5:00pm. Hope to see some of you there!

The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival

EVENT 621 Daisy Goodwin

Daisy Goodwin talks about the ‘dollar princesses’ who made an enormous impact on late Victorian England and whose experiences formed the background of her book My Last Duchess. These women kept the stately homes of England going for a generation – Consuelo Vanderbilt’s dowry was a hundred million dollars!

Daisy Goodwin is one of the nation’s greatest promoters of poetry through her books and television series. Her debut novel My Last Duchess is a story full of exquisite period details and a phalanx of historical characters. It features American heiress, Cora Cash, who has grown up in a world in which money unlocks every door. Cora’s mother has her heart set on a title for her daughter. Impoverished English blue-bloods are queuing up for introductions to her.

Thursday 7/4 12:00 at Christ Church, Blue Boar

The Prospect Debate
Saturday 5th March 1pm
Does feminism have to start all over again?
1–2pm, Guildhall
We live in an age of supposedly equal pay and equal opportunity in which a working woman is meant to enjoy the same prospects as a working man. But we also live in an age of lad culture, sexual harassment, and institutional misogyny. Is it up to women or men to tackle this contradiction? Where does feminism go from here? And what will be the effect of coalition cuts on women’s lives, both at work and at home? Kate Mosse chairs the debate with Prospect Magazine’s Mary Fitzgerald, Daisy Goodwin and Finn Mackay, founder of the London Feminist Network and the revived Reclaim The Night marches.
£7 (£6 concessions) H3

Saturday 5th March 4.30pm
The Truth about Love
4.30–5.30pm, Guildhall
How do you write about love without being sentimental? How do you describe sex without being embarrassing? How do you tell the truth with a cold clear eye? In this session three luminaries of the genre, Daisy Goodwin author of My Last Duchess, Michael Arditti author of Jubilate, and William Nicholson author of All the Hopeful Lovers, spill the beans.
£7 (£6 concessions) H10
For more information go to www.bathlitfest.org.uk

London Library Reading 2
Daisy Goodwin
My Last Duchess
Saturday 13 November, 7:30pm
American University, Richmond
£5 (£4)

Daisy Goodwin’s debut novel My Last Duchess centers on an American heiress who married into the British aristocracy at the end of the nineteenth century. The book is based on real stories from the American ‘dollar Princesses’ who made an enormous impact on British High Society at the turn of the century: women like Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill’s mother, or Consuelo Vanderbilt, who married the Duke of Marlborough – the marriage was spectacularly unhappy, but the Vanderbilt money meant that Blenheim Palace and its treasures were saved. Daisy Goodwin will talk about some of the exciting stories she discovered when researching her book and the real people behind her characters.

In association with The London Library

Bridport Literary Festival
Saturday November 6th, 2.30pm at The Ballroom, The Bull Hotel.

Richmond upon Thames Literature Festival

Harriet Evans & Daisy Goodwin in association with The London Library- The Curse of the Pink Cover: Women writers and the ‘chick lit’ debate

The Curse of the Pink Cover: Women writers and the ‘chick lit’ debate
Why are books reflecting women’s lives so often trivialised? Why do female readers buy books marketed to a male audience, but male readers steer away from so-called ‘chick lit’? Harriet Evans has seen these issues from both sides of the fence: working in the publishing industry as an editor, and now as an established novelist herself. Daisy Godwin has written a novel and a memoir, produced numerous poetry anthologies, presented a documentary series on romance fiction and acted as Chair of the Orange Prize. Together, Harriet and Daisy discuss the publication and reception of ‘women’s writing’.

Start date/time 03 Nov 2010 19:30
Venue The Studio, RACC
Richmond Adult Community College

Past Events
Poole Literary Festival
Saturday, October 30th , 12.00 -2.00pm
21 Kingland Road
BH15 1UG

Wimbledon Bookfest
Saturday, 9th October, 2010
Daisy Goodwin
The Last Duchess
The chair of the Orange Prize presents her own debut novel. My Last Duchess takes the late 19th century market as its theme – American heiresses married off to the sons of the impoverished British aristocracy. A stunning debut novel from the acclaimed journalist and broadcaster.
3.30-4.30pm. Southside House, 3-4 Woodhayes Road, Wimbledon Common. SW19 4RJ £10
Tea will be served from 3-3.30pm.

Box office : 020 8543 4888 (run by Polka Theatre)

Reading at Hammersmith Library
07 October · 18:30 – 23:00
Location Hammersmith Library
Shepherds Bush Road
London, United Kingdom

In this final Story of London event at Hammersmith Library, Daisy Goodwin, Nikesh Shukla, and Rachael Dunlop will be reading from their stories for Hammersmith & Fulham, Brent, and Hillingdon. A retired teacher recalls less than pleasant memories following a chance encounter with a former student, a grieving grandson finds the perfect samosa in Brent, and a young Heathrow worker forms a bond with mysterious woman in Terminal One.

Cheltenham Literature Festival
Monday 11th October @ 4.00pm
Cheltenham Town Hall.