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Penelope Lively is an acclaimed novelist, who has won many major book awards including the Booker Prize, the Whitbread Award and the Carnegie Medal. She was born in Cairo, Egypt and spent her childhood there. She came to England at the age of twelve, in 1945, and went to boarding school in Sussex. She has reviewed regularly and written articles for most major newspapers and magazines, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a member of PEN and the Society of Authors, of which she is a former chairman. She is a former member of the Arts Council Literature Panel and of the Board of the British Library. She has been a member of the Board of the British Council and of the Council of Goldsmiths College. She was awarded the OBE in 1989 and CBE in 2002.