Athill is one of publishings legends. She worked for the BBC throughout the second world war and then helped Andre Deutsch establish the publishing company that bore his name. For almost fifty years she was widely regarded as one of the finest editors in London working with Naipaul, Jean Rhys, Gitta Sereby and Brian Moore. She was also a considerable and unjustly neglected writer. Two of what she called her 'documentary books,' Instead of a Letterand After a Funeralanticipated the modern memoir in their directness and intimacy. Ashworth's remarkable memoir of a very disturbed 1970s childhood Once in a House of Fireis hailed as a searing masterpiece. Walsh's The Falling Angelsis a stunning portrait of his Irish youth in Battersea, and gives a beautifully rendered account of his mother's death.