Set during the height of the women's suffrage movement and with the Great War looming, The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams is a novel about a motherless and irrepressibly curious young girl who spends her childhood in the “Scriptorium," where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. When a slip of paper containing the word bondmaid flutters to the floor one day, Esme learns that the word means “slave-girl,” and she begins to collect other words that have been discarded or neglected by the dictionary men.
As Esme grows up, she realizes that words and meanings relating to women's and common folks' experiences often go unrecorded, and she begins in earnest to search out words for her own dictionary: the Dictionary of Lost Words. Inspired by actual events, Williams delved into the archives of the Oxford English Dictionary to create a delightful, lyrical, and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words and the power of language to shape the world.
Pip Williams was born in London, grew up in Sydney, and now lives in Australia. She is the author of One Italian Summer, a memoir of her family's travels in search of the good life, which was published in Australia to wide acclaim. The Dictionary of Lost Words is her first novel.
Click here to watch the trailer for this extraordinary book.
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