Martha Gellhorn wanted to be known as a novelist. Instead, she’s remembered as one of the 20th century’s greatest war correspondents.
She wrote about what war does to ordinary people, and the despair of those who have lost everything.
She covered the Spanish Civil War, and went ashore on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. But she also wrote about her travels in China, Africa and beyond with vividness and originality.
She lived a truly remarkable life on her own terms, and she remains one of my favourite writers on place.
Gellhorn’s biographer, Caroline Moorehead, joined me to talk about Martha’s life and work.
Caroline has written highly acclaimed biographies of Bertrand Russel, Freya Stark, Lucie de La Tour-du-Pin, and others, and she is a prolific human rights journalist whose articles appear in The Times, Independent, Spectator, The Times Literary Supplement, the New York Review of Books and other publications.
She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was awarded an OBE for services to literature in 2005.
Her latest book, Edda Mussolini: The Most Dangerous Woman in Europe, will be published by Chatto & Windus on October 27th.
These are the books we mentioned in the podcast:
- Martha Gellhorn: A Life
- The Trouble I’ve Seen
- The Face of War
- The View From the Ground
- Travels with Myself and Another
- The Weather in Africa