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On the Wilder Shores of Love

by Georgia de Chamberet

Most famous for The Wilder Shores of Love, her book about four women travellers, Lesley Blanch was a scholarly romantic and a bold writer. Her lifelong passion was for Russia, the Balkans and the Middle East. At heart a nomad, she spent the greater part of her life travelling the remote areas her books record so vividly.

Born in 1904, she died aged 103, having gone from being a household name to a mysterious and neglected living legend. She was writing about her eccentric Edwardian childhood at her death and that work, never before published, now forms the beginning of this wonderful memoir. Lesley Blanch chose to ‘escape the boredom of convention’: having first worked as a theatre designer and illustrator, she became British Vogue’s features editor during World War II and then, in 1946 she sailed from England to travel the world with her diplomat-novelist husband, Romain Gary. By the time they reached Hollywood in the late 1950s they were literary celebrities. When Gary left her for the young actress, Jean Seberg, Blanch headed East and travelled across Siberia, Outer Mongolia, Turkey, Iran, Samarkand, Afghanistan, Egypt, the Sahara, making her mark as an indefatigable and generous travel writer.

Edited by her goddaughter Georgia de Chamberet, who was working with her in her centenary year, this book collects together the story of Blanch’s marriage, previously published only in French; a selection of her journalism which brings to life the artistic melting pot that was London between the wars; and a selection of her most evocative travel pieces, to create the story of a fascinating, bohemian – and, at times outrageous – life that spanned the twentieth century.



About Georgia de Chamberet

Georgia de Chamberet was born in Paris to an eccentric father and an artistic mother. As an editor at Quartet Books in the 1990s she published contemporary writers Tahar Ben Jelloun, Annie Ernaux, Juan Carlos Onetti, Daniel Pennac and Simon Leys (winner of the 1992 Independent Award for Foreign Fiction) amongst others, as well as showcasing various Cuban writers in an anthology edited by Peter Bush. She went on to found the London-based literary agency BookBlast Ltd in 1997 which has a cross- cultural focus. The agency also offers translation services and literary PR. Georgia went on to edit XCiTés: the Flamingo Book of New French Writing (1999) showcasing writers as yet unpublished in English—notably Frédéric Beigbeder, Tonino Benacquista, Virginie Despentes and Michel Houellebecq.   Georgia is a committee member of English PEN's Writers in Translation programme. She writes for various web sites with a focus on translation and new writing, and is Literary Executor for the Estate of Lesley Blanch.



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