Naomi Mitchison was born towards the end of the nineteenth century and grew into an era of change, political, social and sexual. All of these she embraced and influenced in the course of her long life. She became a major novelist of the 20th century with such important novels as The Corn King and The Spring Queen and The Bull Calves but was also a significant non-fiction author and journalist. Widely travelled she was based for more than half her life at Carradale House in Scotland's Kintyre peninsula. From there she ranged widely across the world, in later life discovering Botswana (then Bechuanaland) which she adopted as her own and where she was impatiently present as the Union flag was lowered for the last time. She had intimate friendships with Doris Lessing, Aldous Huxley, Stevie Smith, E. M. Foster and many more literary and political figures, all of whom are discussed in this engrossing biography.
'Jenni Calder's biography of Naomi Mitchison is a well-paced journey through a fascinating life which is difficult to put down. Calder approaches Mitchison's various idiosyncrasies with a clear-eyed affection and a total lack of judgment. Her experiences should be the start of many feminist conversations about the dynamics of love affairs and sexual politics, and how women are treated as they age.' -Holly Baxter, The Independent; 'Born into privilege, she was nonetheless a committed socialist and feminist and worked all her life to give voice to the voiceless. [Mitchison] was not afraid either to challenge convention or to use her social position to overcome obstacles and get things done.' -James Robertson; 'An outstanding example of the biographer's art... The Burning Glass is the story of a life that deserves to be told: and which is told extremely well.' -Undiscovered Scotland