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Long, Kate 1965(?)–

Long, Kate 1965(?)–

PERSONAL: Born c. 1965; married; husband a government worker; children: two.

ADDRESSES: Home—Shropshire, England. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Picador, 175 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010.

CAREER: Writer and educator. High school English teacher, c. 1991–2004.

WRITINGS:

FICTION

The Bad Mother's Handbook (novel), Picador (London, England), 2004.

Swallowing Grandma (novel), Picador (London, England), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: Kate Long retired from teaching high school after her first novel, The Bad Mother's Handbook, became a best seller in England. The novel focuses on several women in the same British family struggling to better themselves and make ends meet, with the individual characters narrating their own stories. In an interview with Stephen Moss for the London Guardian, the author explained her choice of characters: "I couldn't think of any female writers who were writing about this kind of grey class that's just out of the working class and is clinging by its fingertips to middleclassness. All the novels I read that I thought were going to be about my kind of life—about women juggling lots of things—were actually about women with fantastic jobs, in London, with nannies. There didn't seem to be anything at all for me, reflecting my kinds of concerns."

In the novel, the character of Karen is upset that her seventeen-year-old daughter Charlotte has become pregnant. Karen's concern is that her daughter is following in her own footsteps: she had Charlotte when she was sixteen and knows firsthand how such an early pregnancy can be a barrier to a better life and, in Charlotte's case, college. Karen's mother, Nan, is sick and declining rapidly when Karen learns she is adopted. She sets out to find her birth mother, thinking that possibly this may put her in touch with a better, middle-class existence. In a review of The Bad Mother's Handbook in Booklist, Joanne Wilkinson called the novel "charming, [and] funny" and commended the author for her "her saucy humor and resourceful characters." As a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted, "Long tells the story … through shifting first-person sections … moving wittily and gracefully toward an ending that's happily realistic." Long is also the author of Swallowing Grandma, about a teenage girl and the aging grandmother who is the girl's only parent.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 1, 2005, Joanne Wilkinson, review of The Bad Mother's Handbook, p. 1138.

Guardian (London, England), March 31, 2004, Stephen Moss, "G2: Portrait: The Tesco Triumph," p. 8.

Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2005, review of The Bad Mother's Handbook, p. 13.

Library Journal, March 15, 2005, Amy Brozio-Andrews, review of The Bad Mother's Handbook, p. 73.

Publishers Weekly, March 28, 2005, review of The Bad Mother's Handbook, p. 56.

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