Rebecca Swift (1964-2017) was born in London and read English at Oxford University. She wrote prolifically throughout her life – diaries, novels and poems – and a collection of the latter, A Suitable Love Object, will be published by Valley Press in July 2020.
For seven years she worked at Virago Press, where she first conceived of the idea for the Literary Consultancy, which she co-founded in 1996 and was Director of until 2017. For Chatto & Windus she edited a volume of letters between George Bernard Shaw and Margaret Wheeler, Letters from Margaret: The Fascinating Story of Two Babies Swapped at Birth (1992) and Imagining Characters: Six Conversations about Women Writers, a book of conversations between writer A.S. Byatt and psychoanalyst Ignês Sodré (1995). Her poems have been anthologised in Virago New Poets (1990), Vintage New Writing 6 (1995), Driftwood US (2005), and Staple (2008). Her biography of Emily Dickinson, Dickinson: Poetic Lives, was published in 2011 with Hesperus Press.
She also wrote a libretto funded by Arts Council England and commissioned by the Lontano Ensemble; the opera, Spirit Child, composed by Jenni Roditi, was performed at Ocean in Hackney, London in 2001. She has also written and reviewed for the Independent on Sunday and the Guardian and completed an M.A. in Psychoanalytic Studies at the Tavistock.
A posthumous collection of poetry, 'beautiful, wry, brimming with intelligence and love' – with a foreword by Michael Ondaatje and an introduction by Kamila Shamsie.
Rebecca Swift, pioneering founder of The Literary Consultancy, believed every writer should have the opportunity for their voice to be heard, and their work to be developed. But, unbeknown to all except a few close friends, she had been working on her own poetry throughout her life, and was assembling a collection at the time of her tragically early death in 2017.
A Suitable Love Object is that dream brought to fruition. Whether falling in (or out) of love, delighting in the intricacies of family politics or contemplating the bleak parameters of loss, Becky's poems are brimming with intelligence and wonder; shards of light forever slicing through the darkness she unflinchingly explores.
For those lucky enough to know her, this collection provides a few more precious moments in her profound, witty company – and the chance to meet some other extraordinary characters, including lifelong friend Doris Lessing, remembered here in a stunning sestina. For those who didn’t, this is a rare opportunity to bear witness to a beautiful mind at work.
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