Charlotte Mendelson’s background is west London mixed with Jewish mittel Europe but she describes her accent, courtesy of growing up in Oxford, as sounding ‘like a pre-pubescent Etonian’.

Mendelson has had a long career in publishing as well as in writing: she first became a novelist while working as a copy editor for Jonathan Cape – a house with a blue-blooded Booker Prize pedigree – where she wrote at lunchtime (‘I didn’t do it at all in the evenings and weekends’). She now also teaches creative writing and, an avid horticulturalist, is the gardening correspondent of the New Yorker. She has described the highlight of the writer’s life as being ‘the rare moment of satisfaction when a smell or a quality of sadness comes into perfect verbal focus’. 

Charlotte Mendelson

All nominated books

Almost English