A rare blend of literary biography and family  memoir centred around a secret love affair between Elizabeth Bowen and the author’s grandfather . A sudden death in the family delivers Julia a box of love letters. Dusty with age, they reveal an illicit affair  between the celebrated twentieth-century Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen and Humphry House – Julia’s  grandfather.  So begins an intriguing quest to discover and understand this affair, one with profound repercussions for  Julia’s family, not least for her grandmother, Madeline. This is a book about how stories are told in real life, in  fiction and in families. The Shadowy Third opens a lost world, one with complex and often surprising attitudes to love and sex,  work and home, duty and ambition, and to writing itself. Weaving present-day story telling with historical  narrative, this is a beautifully written debut of literary and familial investigation from an original and  captivating new voice.  

Chaired by Jacqui Hodgson

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