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Stuart Kells is an award-winning author whose books have been published around the world including in the US, China, Britain, Japan, South Korea, Italy and in his native Australia. His book ‘The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders’ was shortlisted for the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award (non-fiction) and the New South Wales Premier’s General History Prize, and longlisted for the Waverley Library Award. (See his Paris Review article, ‘The Strange Magic of Libraries’, and his Guardian article, ‘Blood, Bookworms, Bosoms and Bottoms: The Secret Life of Libraries’.) Stuart’s history of Penguin Books, ‘Penguin and the Lane Brothers’, won the Ashurst Business Literature Prize. His shorter writings have appeared in a wide range of journals, magazines and newspapers. Under the ‘Books of Kells’ imprint he published the five-volume ‘Australian Book Collectors’. He delivered the 2018 Jean Whyte Lecture.
His latest book is ‘Shakespeare’s Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature’. Publisher’s Weekly called it ‘a fascinating examination of a persistent literary mystery’, and Anna Rogers wrote in ‘Noted’: ‘Kells’s style is easy yet erudite, and often very funny…He admits cheerfully to his own obsessions, but remains blessedly sensible, articulate and unafraid of a spot of iconoclasm…In his view, Shakespeare’s probable working method was one of “gradualism and collectivism”. He used whatever material was available to pen topical, popular plays that were ideal for performance. But, before they were printed, they needed refining - editing - by others, both in his lifetime and after his death. Such a view may rattle the reverent, but there is thought and conviction behind Kells’ suggestions.’