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The diary of an ordinary schoolgirl living in Carlisle in 1954 -- a perfectly preserved period piece from one of the UK's favourite novelists

24 July, Saturday
Bought a pair of shorts – white, very short with two pockets. Super but rather daring!

In 1954 in Carlisle lived an ordinary 15-year-old schoolgirl called Margaret. She would go on to become an acclaimed writer, the author of the novels Georgy Girl and Diary of an Ordinary Woman as well as biographies and memoir. But this is her diary from that year; her life. Hers might be a lost world, but her daily observations bring it back in vivid, irresistible detail.

23 February, Tuesday
Results rolling in! Algebra, 6th = 74%. Not bad. Latin = 55% Thrilled! Eng Literature, Top = 79% but Lang. 4th = 60%. History top = 85% smashing! French 12th = 61%. Geography, disgusting, 2nd = 67%. Have been alternately thrilled, depressed, excited disappointed today. Some haven’t passed in anything.

4 September, Saturday
Got up at 7.30 and had all the housework done by 9.30. Started baking at 10 and made a chocolate cake, some buns and some scones (fairly successfully!). Also did flowers, scrubbed floors, iced cakes and generally got everything in apple pie order for Mum.

13 October, Wednesday
Very cold today and extremely blustery. Came home by the bay and it was thundering over with the wind whipping huge waves up. I walked through the leaves up the hill and they made the most gorgeous noise – lovely colours too!

Formats & editions

  • Hardback


    December 15, 2017

    Chatto & Windus

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    December 7, 2017

    Vintage Digital

    208 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
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    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Margaret Forster

How to Measure a Cow
My Life in Houses
The Unknown Bridesmaid
Shadow Baby
The Memory Box
Isa and May
Daphne Du Maurier
Keeping the World Away
Is There Anything You Want?
Mothers' Boys
Georgy Girl
Lady's Maid
Significant Sisters
Private Papers
The Battle For Christabel
Seduction Of Mrs Pendlebury
Diary Of An Ordinary Woman
Have The Men Had Enough?
Mother Can You Hear Me?
Good Wives
Precious Lives
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Rich Desserts And Captains Thin


The Boy Behind the Curtain
How To Be A Bawse
No Place to Lay One's Head
The Diary Of A Young Girl
The Spy Who Loved Castro
The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary Volume 3
How to Murder Your Life
Making It Up As I Go Along
Lion: A Long Way Home
Not Your Average Nurse
Life Sentence
When Breath Becomes Air
The Princess Diarist
Everything to Live For
The Good Girl of Chinatown
Secrets of a Beauty Queen
Down the Dirt Roads
Life After Life