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Karen Armstrong was born in Worcestershire. After becoming a nun in the 1960s, she left her order and lectured in literature at London University before becoming a full time writer, broadcaster and international adviser on religious and political affairs. She has addressed US Congress, the UN and Canadian parliament on Islam and fundamentalism. Among her other books is the bestselling 'History of God'.
* `This articulate and sensitive writer spares no punches in her account of the agonising fight to find herself under the weight of rules and expectations, lies and aggression... Through the Narrow Gate is written as racily and as emotionally as a novel... the picture of convent life is vivid and terrifying.' Good Housekeeping. * `Painful and honest... Karen Armstrong's simple account of her struggles - both in pursuit of that self-death that the true religious craves and, later, against her unconscious rejection of life in an ultra-strict Order - says a great deal about destructive trends in modern life... A very moving book.' Daily Telegraph * `Seldom has a story of personal inspiration and tragedy radiated such warmth, freshness and candour... As beautifully recounted as it is heart-rending.' Irish Press * The strength of this unself-pitying chronicle is the author's capacity to convey the overwhelming attraction of the life she sought, even as she documents its shattering effect on the human personality... A scrupulous record of one woman's spiritual journey, excellently written and profoundly moving.' Cosmopolitan