Winner of the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2020
2021 Pulitzer Prize for Biography Finalist
Red Comet is the first biography of this great and tragic poet that takes advantage of a wealth of new material. This is an unusually balanced, comprehensive and definitive life of Sylvia Plath.
As well as offering illuminating readings of Plath’s poems, this meticulous, compassionate life employs new material to bring us closer than ever to the spirited woman and visionary artist who blazed a trail for women poets the world over.
‘Red Comet is an astoundingly detailed reappraisal of Sylvia Plath and her influences, and of her relationships with her mother, Ted Hughes and mental illness. Through the exposure of fresh material and a bold critique of the many clichéd interpretations of Plath’s life, Heather Clark has brought us a ground-breaking biography of great narrative and perceptive force. This is traditional biography writing at its subtle best: meticulous, erudite, encompassing, based on excellent research, justified by important discoveries and leading us to new thoughts about one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century.’ Alexander Masters, 2020 Prize Judge
‘A first-class biography . . . Red Comet is a mighty achievement. Clark is compassionate, clear-eyed, sceptical. Each chapter reads with the ease of a novel . . . I couldn’t put it down.’ Laura Freeman, The Times