Author(s): Sarah Quigley
A best-selling, compelling and evocatively realised novel based on real events and figures. It has now sold into eight different countries around the world. In June 1941, Nazi troops march on Leningrad and surround it. Hitler's plan is to shell, bomb, and starve the city into submission. Most of the cultural elite are evacuated early in the siege, but Dmitri Shostakovich, the most famous composer in Russia, stays on to defend his city, digging ditches and fire-watching. At night he composes a new work. But after Shostakovich and his family are forced to evacuate, only Karl Eliasberg - a shy and difficult man, conductor of the second-rate Radio Orchestra - and an assortment of musicians are left behind in Leningrad to face an unendurable winter and start rehearsing the finished score of Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony.
Sarah Quigley was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. She is a novelist, critic, non-fiction writer, poet, and columnist. She has a DPhil in Literature from the University of Oxford and is a graduate of Bill Manhire's creative writing course. In 1998, she won the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship. Her short stories and poetry have been widely broadcast and published, and she has won many prizes, including the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Award and the Commonwealth Pacific Rim Short Story Award. Her publications include novels, short fiction, a creative writing manual and poetry collections, many of which have sold internationally. Reviewing her novel Fifty Days, The Observer wrote, 'Sensual, monstrous and bewitching ... Quigley's prose imparts constant shocks of lyricism, intensity and acuity.' Her second novel, Shot, was long-listed for the 2005 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and her third novel, Fifty Days, saw her featured in Waterstones UK 20 Faces of the Future. In 2000 she won the inaugural Creative New Zealand Berlin Residency. Since then she has divided her time between New Zealand and Berlin. Her novel The Conductor, which is set during the siege of Leningrad, was the highest selling adult fiction title in New Zealand in 2011, remaining at number one for 20 weeks. Subsequently it won the Booksellers Choice Award and was long-listed for the 2012 International IMPAC Award and was shortlisted for the Prix Femina in France. More about Quigley's work can be found on her website- www.sarahvquigley.com. The New Zealand Herald wrote of The Conductor- 'This extraordinary novel is a symphony on the power of love - the love of music, home, family, city, and Quigley's love of writing. Each se