Author, Mark Stibbe

By Francesca Baker

In a love letter to books and mothers, life meets art as a Kent author completes his novel about finding a mother, just as he himself does!

A Book in Time is a love story about a book’s longing, over two centuries, for the mother who bore it. Adopted by many different owners – some loving, others unscrupulous – this book longs to be reunited with an elderly author who cherished it as if it was her only child.

As the book passes through many hands, it observes not only the way people treat it, but each other, and in all of this, its mother’s love sets the high standard against which everything is lovingly judged.

A Book in Time not only encourages us to have a deep and abiding love and affection for books, it also explores themes such as motherhood and adoption – themes that have been dominant in the writer’s own life.


When in 1960 he was left as an orphan in the hands of some kindly Anglican nuns in Hackney.

He was subsequently adopted by a family that loved books. This unique background provided part of the inspiration to write his novel, A Book in Time.

Strange demonstration of synchronicity

And in a strange demonstration of synchronicity, Mark Stibbe experienced the culmination of his own search for a mother after completing his novel.

Having never met or known his birth mother, Mark met her for the first time at the end of 2021, shortly before she died.

Magically imitated life even as life has magically imitated art

So, there is more than a hint of Mark’s own search in the book’s quest for its author. In the case of A Book in Time, in perhaps a unique way, art has magically imitated life even as life has magically imitated art.

Mark says: “The serendipity and synchronicity of the experience of writing this book continues to fascinate me. During the period of writing, my twin sister in America had found and contacted my birth mother in England. Just as I was completing the book, I had my one and only conversation with her. It’s not the first time that the stray strands of my life have come together at the same time without me having control over them. The reunion with my birth mother made me very grateful for my adoptive mother – grateful for the fact that she had done so much of the heavy lifting of motherhood.”

More about Mark Stibbe

Mark Stibbe was the Winner of the 2020 Page Turner Awards, A Book in Time is a truly enchanting work of magical realism and historical romance. This exceptional novel has been described by the judges of the Page Turner Awards as “visionary”, “ambitious”, “magical”, “unique,” “refreshing.”

If you’re a lover of books, you will be hooked from the first sentence.

Based in Folkestone, Kent, Mark also runs BookLab, a company dedicated to assessing manuscripts, ghost writing, structural editing, and coaching aspiring writers.

The book is self-published; Mark is a passionate believer in the author’s right to tell stories in a way that preserves their individuality, their values, and their freedom.

By Ed

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