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The Whalebone Theatre


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About the Author

Joanna Quinn was born in London and grew up in Dorset, in the southwest of England, where her bestselling debut novel, The Whalebone Theatre, is set. Joanna has worked in journalism and the charity sector. She is also a short-story writer, published by The White Review and Comma Press, among others. She teaches creative writing and lives in a village near the sea in Dorset.


Destined to become a classic . . . Elegantly written and totally immersive, Quinn's debut is a wonder * Daily Mail *
Quinn creates a world so rich with observation, detail, humanity and heart that you are incapable of doing anything but drinking it in with greedy delight * YOU magazine *
In classic English Country House novel style, [The Whalebone Theatre] focuses on the younger generation amidst a backdrop of scandalous adult misbehaviour. This is a chunky novel to get lost in, full of pacy plotting and luscious language * The Independent *
A crumbling old country manor, three unconventional siblings and the looming threat of war makes for a classic coming-of-age tale, as imaginative Cristabel, sweet Flossie and charismatic Digby attempt to find their roles in life. Brimful of charm, and wonderfully immersive, this is a captivating read * Daily Mail *
I was swept away by this compelling, beautifully written debut and its plucky heroine * Good Housekeeping *
One of those big chunky stories that swallows you whole - and it's beautifully written too * The Times *
Written with heart and humour * Psychologies *
[A] brilliant debut ... A truly immersive read. The plot unfolds gradually, allowing you to really connect with the characters, all of whom are very real with their fears and foibles ... Fascinating * Dorset Magazine *
This is a book that will be loved unreasonably and life-long * Francis Spufford, author of 'Light Perpetual' *
Utterly captivating ... Written with great heart, humour and humanity, it's the kind of book you want to escape normal life to read at every available opportunity. * Elizabeth Day, author of Magpie *
The Whalebone Theatre has all the makings of a classic. And Cristabel Seagrave is the most gratifying hero. The war scenes often left me breathless: they are as good as you will ever read. A wonderful debut. Actually, a tour de force' * Sarah Winman, Author of Still Life *
So immersive and joyous and glorious. I was completely entranced * Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of Write It All Down *
Quinn's story passes like a fabulous pageant, richly coloured and packed with incident, taking us from the lonely and unorthodox Dorset childhood of the extraordinary Christabel to the poignant aftermath of her heroic Second World War. Quinn has a sublime touch: Cristabel and her troupe are unforgettable, as riotous in comedy as they are heart-breaking in tragedy' * Frances Liardet, author of We Must Be Brave *
Magnificent. As capacious, surprising and magical as the whale that lends its bones to Cristabel's theatre: a tale of intertwined lives and braided fates as deftly managed and heartbreaking as a Dickens' novel. * Rebecca Stott, Costa-winning author of The Days of Rain *
Breathes fresh, bracing air into the lungs of the multi-generational saga - and the very form of the novel itself. Few people writing today can match Quinn for the energy and precision of her prose... * Susan Elderkin, author of The Story Cure: An A-Z of Books to Keep Kids Happy, Healthy and Wise *
I defy any reader not to fall in love... it transported me wholesale to another time and place and while I wandered its pages, I forgot the world for a while * Wyl Menmuir, author of Fox Fires *
Utterly heart-breaking and joyous ... I just disappeared into THE WHALEBONE THEATRE and didn't want to leave * Jo Baker, author of Longbourn *

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