'It will, I hope, still qualify for the indulgence traditionally extended to juvenilia,' wrote Philip Larkin, almost twenty years after the publication of his first novel. But Jill, with its exact evocation of place - Oxford in 1940 - and astute insight into character, emotions and social nuance, requires no such indulgence. It is a classic of its time, and shows many of the qualities that were later to distinguish Larkin's great, mature poetry.
'Jill is, in a sense, a kind of cryptic manifesto. It is a novel about writing, about discovering a literary personality, and about the sorts of consolation that art can provide.' Andrew Motion
Philip Larkin was born in Coventry in 1922 and was educated at King Henry VIII School, Coventry, and St John's College, Oxford. As well as his volumes of poems, which include The Whitsun Weddings and High Windows, he wrote two novels, Jill and A Girl in Winter, and two books of collected journalism: All What Jazz: A Record Diary, and Required Writing: Miscellaneous Prose. He worked as a librarian at the University of Hull from 1955 until his death in 1985. He was the best-loved poet of his generation, and the recipient of innumerable honours, including the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, and the WHSmith Award.