The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society
Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows
First published in 2008, the newly-released film starring the likes of Tom Courtenay and Penelope Wilton has been winning new readers for this feel-good novel. The story of its writing is in some ways as fascinating as the book itself: the American author, Mary Anne Shaffer, came to England to research a book on the wife of polar explorer Captain Scott, but when source material proved elusive she decided to spend some of her time in the UK visiting the island of Guernsey. Stranded at the airport there, she read about the German occupation of Guernsey in World War II and, twenty years later, brought some of that material together in a novel set on the island. At that point the author fell ill and, sadly, died before the final editing and revision of the text. It was taken up and finished off by her niece, Annie Barrows, an established children’s author in her own right. And so a quirky best-seller was born.