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About the Author

Oliver Soden is a writer and broadcaster. His first book, a biography of the composer Michael Tippett, was a Book of the Year in the Observer, Times Literary Supplement and Spectator. It was shortlisted for the Elizabeth Longford Prize and won a Somerset Maugham Award and the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Storytelling. Soden's essays and reviews have appeared in publications including the Guardian, Literary Review and Art Newspaper. He grew up in Bath and Sussex, and lives in London.


What a pleasure it is to read a book into which so much labour, and so much affection, have evidently gone. But the labour is never flaunted and the affection is mingled with the same sophisticated irony that made Coward such a giant of the theatre. This is the biography - truthful, sympathetic and thorough - that Coward deserves
*Daily Telegraph*

Assiduous, even-handed, readable . . . astute
*The Times*

Excellent . . . reveals Coward to be a more complex individual than we had acknowledged

A captivating biography
*Financial Times*

This is a sympathetic and very touching biography. Soden makes the daring decision to write occasional sections in imitation of Coward's style. Not every biographer would be up to this, but Soden pulls it off. The ending is particularly good - first skating around Coward's last days, letting him evaporate like Elvira, then giving us a chorus of biographers, boyfriends and household servants to narrate it in detail. But the whole book is beautifully done, and will last . . . There's every reason to think Coward will last forever - and this excellent biography is just what he deserves

Soden, who has had access to unpublished diaries and letters, comes up with a far more complex Coward than we have seen before... This is a highly illuminating book that makes us reconsider Coward
*Country Life*

Masquerade is a pleasure to read - not just for Oliver Soden's splendid survey of Coward's life, but also for the rhythm and tempo of his writing as he parries with his mercurial subject. This Coward commands our empathy: more real, more mortal, "more Noël than Coward", as Soden intended... His fallibility renders him more likeable, lovable even. With this enriched arc from conception to denouement, the myth is made man. At last, the character of Noël Coward makes sense.
*The Critic*

Praise for Michael Tippett: The Biography An exceptional piece of work
*Philip Hensher, Spectator*

Praise for Michael Tippett: The Biography
Generous, game-changing biography

Praise for Michael Tippett: The Biography
That rarest of things: a genuine landmark publication
*BBC Radio 3 Music Matters*

Praise for Jeoffrey: The Poet's Cat
Simply unforgettable ... one of the most beautiful and haunting books of recent times
*Alexander McCall Smith*

Praise for Jeoffrey: The Poet's Cat
Inspired and original
*Hilary Mantel*

Praise for Jeoffrey: The Poet's Cat
I intend to give a copy to everyone I like
*Andrew O’Hagan*

Soden's verve and way of handling the subject completely breathes new life into an absolutely extraordinary story . . . I really recommend it, it's a fascinating look at somebody who is still relevant fifty years after his death

A masterly account of the Master - including stuff we didn't know before. And so beautifully and entertainingly written
*Gyles Brandreth*

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