Win a 1970s shopping spree with the most stylish read of the summer

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Win a 1970s shopping spree with the most stylish read of the summer

6 prizes to be won!

Upstairs at the Party is the brilliant new novel from the Man Booker shortlisted author Linda Grant, written with her hallmark humour, intelligence and boldness. It’s so good, Waterstones have selected it for their latest Book Club.

If you’re looking for a smart, stylish summer read, look no further than this gripping 1970s-set novel of long-kept secrets, long-felt guilt, and the split-second decisions that shape our lives. What happened on the night of Adele’s twentieth birthday party, and why? The questions that haunt her will keep you guessing right up to the last page . . .

We’ve got five signed copies for runners-up, and one lucky winner will also win a night’s stay for two in gorgeous vintage-styled Ace Hotel London Shoreditch – along with £300 spending money for a shopping spree in all the nearby boutiques and vintage markets!

To find out more about Upstairs at the Party – and all the other outstanding fiction and non-fiction published by Virago – visit

"Picture me, dressed on my first day at university in a yellow midiskirt, emerald-green tights and black patent shoes. I look like a daffodil in a plastic pot. My sallow complexion, thin waist, narrow shoulders, prominent collarbones and freckled arms. A musky fragrance on the skin, not unpleasant, quite sexy. The demanding eyes. Smoking incessantly, my hair falling from a central parting in two curtains, straightened by laying it on an ironing board and pushing the hot iron over the strands till the split ends singed. Tiny burn marks on my dresses from falling strands of tobacco. Only eighteen. Scared, intimidated, bold, short-sighted, too vain to wear glasses.
. . .
I queued for my room key and carried my case up the stairs along a breezeblock corridor to a breezeblock study-bedroom with a single bed, a desk, chair, Anglepoise lamp, bookshelf. It looked bare and full of possibilities. I quite liked it. I felt I could make an impression here, with no ormolu clocks or cut-glass whisky tumblers. It could be quite Elizabeth David: austere, Protestant, unadorned and contemporary with just a white bowl with a few green apples in it, as depicted in the colour supps. It was all very exciting and different. I started to feel very keen.
Across the hall was the same room, but doubled, with two of everything and one girl in it, standing by the window looking out at the traffic on the road which led away from the campus back into town, as if she was going to leap out and run after the car in which her parents were speeding away back home.
Gillian Braithwaite. A plumpish type girl hidden behind enormous ointment-pink-rimmed glasses, with sandy, curly hair corkscrewing itself around in coils, wearing a maxi-dress with leg-of-mutton sleeves. Her head stuck out of the sagging neckline as if she was Alice in the process of shrinking, and the dress was about to swallow her up."

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A 1970s shopping spree x1
Paperback copy of Upstairs at the Party signed by Linda Grant x5

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