Stevenson, Talitha 1976-
STEVENSON, Talitha 1976-
PERSONAL: Born 1976, in London, England. Education: Attended Oxford University.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Carroll & Graf Publishers, 245 W. 17th St., 11th Fl., New York, NY 10011-5300.
CAREER: Novelist and journalist. Worked variously as a groom in a racing stable, a portrait model, and a photographer's model.
AWARDS, HONORS: Whitbread Award finalist for best first novel, 2003, for An Empty Room.
An Empty Room, Virago Press (London, England), 2003.
Contributor to publications, including London Daily Mail and London Guardian.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Exposure, for Virago Press (London, England).
SIDELIGHTS: London-born Talitha Stevenson began writing novels at the age of sixteen and later established herself as an accomplished journalist. An Empty Room, Stevenson's first published novel, follows the life of a seemingly self-indulgent nineteen-year-old Londoner who finds love with an older married man. In an interview posted on the Virago Press Web site, Stevenson related that An Empty Room "is about the way we prize moral subjectivity and its effect on the moral development of my generation…. The individual's right to choose his own way of life has its down side, particularly when that individual is young and inexperienced."
In a review for Booklist, Gillian Engberg commented that An Empty Room "examines the powerful legacy of infidelity and the pivotal moments that make up larger acts of betrayal and love. Emily [the protagonist] notices everything, and her raw, first-person voice is filled with astonishing, precise insights into human nature that will leave readers feeling both wiser and exposed. An accomplished debut." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote that "Stevenson sets up an evocative character study in her effective but occasionally turgid first novel…. The quality character writing bodes well for Stevenson's future." Los Angeles Times reviewer Mark Rozzo remarked that "Stevenson has created an acute yet aloof soap opera of the young-adult self…. [and] has given us something refreshing: a wide-eyed, even innocent, take on the loss of innocence." Acknowledging Stevenson's "astute, almost journalistic descriptions," John Freeman of the Chicago Tribute stated, "This novel catapults forward like a made-for-TV miniseries, with each new misstep—and everyone here makes bad decisions—causing you to read just one more chapter."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 15, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of An Empty Room, p. 1267.
Chicago Tribune, May 9, 2004, John Freeman, review of An Empty Room, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2004, Mark Rozzo, review of An Empty Room, p. R14.
Publishers Weekly, February 23, 2004, review of An Empty Room, p. 51.
Virago Press Web site, http://www.virago.co.uk/ (December 28, 2004), "Talitha Stevenson."