Alleyn’s School is a 4-18 co-educational, independent day school in Dulwich, London, England.

An Evening with Clare Chambers

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Presented by Village Books and Alleyn's School 

Clare Chambers, award-winning author of Small Pleasures is back with a new novel exploring love, family, and the joy of freedom.

Croydon, 1964. Helen Hansford is in her thirties and an art therapist in a psychiatric hospital where she has been having a long love affair with Gil: a charismatic, married doctor.

One spring afternoon they receive a call about a disturbance from a derelict house not far from Helen’s home. A thirty-seven-year-old man called William Tapping, with a beard down to his waist, has been discovered along with his elderly aunt. It is clear he has been shut up in the house for decades, but when it emerges that William is a talented artist, Helen is determined to discover his story.

Shy Creatures is a life-affirming novel about all the different ways we can be confined, how ordinary lives are built of delicate layers of experience, the joy of freedom and the transformative power of kindness.

Clare Chambers’s first job after university was working for Diana Athill at André Deutsch. Her first novel Uncertain Terms was published in 1992 and she is the author of eight other novels. Small Pleasures, her first work of fiction in ten years, became a word-of-mouth hit on publication, was selected for BBC 2 Between the Covers book club and for BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime. It also won Pageturner of the Year Award at the British Book Awards 2022 and was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2021.

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