Events and Reviews

‘I think the main thing, don’t you, is to keep the show on the road.’

Elizabeth Bowen

Upcoming Events

The Out and Wild Festival,
Lawrenny, Wales
12 June 2022

More info:

Past Events include:
Literary Festivals in Oxford, Alderney and Hexham.


The Shadowy Third is the intimate portrait of a love triangle, with the novelist Elizabeth Bowen as one of the protagonists. It is also a work of discovery, using letters with sensitivity and intelligence, rebuilding a lost world with imaginative flair, seeing Bowen and her world with insight, and the lives of Julia Parry’s own grandparents with a sharp eye for detail and a skill at telling a fascinating story.’
Colm Tóibín

‘Very epistolary and very beautiful, particularly with Bowen’s letters which are astonishingly beautiful, complex and intense. It’s like reading one of Elizabeth Bowen’s great novels.’ [Link]
David Baddiel, Chair of Judges, RSL Christopher Bland Prize 2022

‘A fascinating and moving portrait of love, loyalty, and infidelity.’ Sarah Waters

‘Parry is a spirited narrator who is clearly a great admirer of Bowen’s fiction but isn’t blindsided by this, remaining admirably nuanced as she gives a judicious moment-by-moment account of these complicated characters over the decades.’ 
Lara Feigel, The Spectator

‘An essay of rare sensitivity and intelligent reflection as meticulously composed as it is elegantly written.’
Rupert Christiansen, The Daily Telegraph

‘Parry investigates, with empathy and efficacy, the circumstances and the atmosphere of the long-ago affaire de coeur. At the centre of her project is the epistolary inheritance… the whole of its intriguing and illuminating content has set her imagination and her scholar’s instinct going. Her book is constructed with an eye to travel writing, family history, biographical and literary content, personal reflection and, above all, evocation of place… All her expeditions are enriched by the store of knowledge, the ardour and sensitivity, she brings to bear on them. Parry is an intrepid narrator… She marshals her facts and impressions with energy and assiduity.’
Patricia Craig, The Times Literary Supplement

‘Parry is an engaging writer, deliciously alert to the echoes and parallels that sometimes feel like ancestral instructions on how to approach the material.’
Lucy Atkins, The Sunday Times

‘[A] fascinating and poetic book.’
Ian d’Alton, The Irish Times

‘An absorbing, rewarding portrait of love and art and betrayal. The reader will be both delighted and disarmed by the skill and the fabulous tale Parry unearths and unfolds. Julia Parry writes with great sensitivity, and the subsequent travels she makes to reconstruct her grandparents’ lives are handled with subtlety and sympathy.’
Mary O’Rourke, The Irish Independent

‘In Julia Parry’s wonderful account of the affair between her grandfather Humphry House and Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen, she brings the players – Bowen, House, and Madeline, his shadowy wife – to vivacious, charged life. Parry does an excellent, empathic job of managing the stories; she marries testimony with hearsay, motive with circumstance, and place with atmosphere, and fashions all of it into a compelling, seductive narrative.’
Nuala O’Connor, Books Ireland Magazine

‘Julia Parry is a talented writer…The Shadowy Third is continuously enlivened by fine turns of phrase. She captures well the languid enjoyment of various shades of privilege. Parry excels too at plotting the arc of the Bowen-House relationship through time and space. Books such as The Shadowy Third are going to assume more and more significance as the culture and habit of letter writing fades from living memory.’
Michael Duggan, The Irish Examiner

‘…what a gorgeous book Julia Parry has written…. a book all about ghosts and the way that they inhabit the present with their enigmatic absent-presence…. I fell into the book and read compulsively until the end, travelling around the world sweeping up the big themes of social history through to the minute elegiac family details. This is a magnificent debut.’ 
Gail Crowther (author of Three Martini Afternoons at the Ritz: The Rebellion of Sylvia Plath & Anne Sexton)

‘A vivid picture of an important and immensely gifted writer in love.’
Joseph O’Connor

‘A true story of marriage, passion and betrayal that reads like a richly textured novel. Parry takes readers on a vivid journey to find the truth of her grandfather’s love affair with a famous novelist.’ Charlotte Gordon (author of Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley)

‘Julia Parry has a fascinating tale to tell, and she does so with a compelling immediacy and also with admirable finesse. Bowen fans will be in her debt; and those interested in the milieux she frequented.’
Peter J. Conradi

‘Part exploration of a love affair, part literary history, The Shadowy Third takes up the burdens of the past—its passions and its personalities…. In its first-person intimacy, this book is as memorable and poignant as Austerlitz or The Hare with Amber Eyes.
Allan Hepburn (editor of The Weight of a World of Feeling: Reviews and Essays by Elizabeth Bowen)

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