The Surreal Century of Leonora Carrington

Joanna Moorhead’s The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington is issued today, one hundred years to the day since said life began. As I mentioned back in January, Carrington’s centenary is being marked by numerous publications; to the list offered then I would add The Debutante and Other Stories, a collection of Carrington’s fiction also out today as the first release by Silver Press.

Carrington’s biographer first encountered her subject as a family secret; the British artist and writer was Moorhead’s cousin. Around ten years ago she was astonished to discover that the woman for whom her other relatives could summon few good words – dismissing her as a model – was actually a greatly (if belatedly) respected artist. And that she had lived an extraordinary life in which she encountered many household names of 20th century art. More amazing still, she found out that Carrington was still alive and living in Mexico, where she had emigrated during the Second World War. Before Carrington died in 2011, Moorhead met up with her and managed to record at first hand the course of a life lived with passion, ingenuity and originality. Find out more in the video below:

click here if you don’t see the video embedded



  1. I discovered Leonora Carrington via my interest in Dora Carrington (not related to one another except that both were female, artists, and British). She had a relationship with the German artist Max Ernst but they parted ways after the war, when Ernst hooked up with another woman. Her own wartime experiences were horrific and led her to spend time in a mental hospital trying to recover. She recounted some of her more harrowing experiences in her fictional works and also wrote fantasy fiction. Though not a ‘great’ writer, reading her works is really interesting, when you know her biography. Some of her stories deal with horses, which are also found in some of her better known paintings. Thanks for sharing this new biography with us!

  2. Aida Ghazar

    Thank you!

  3. hdruktenis

    So delighted to learn of this unapologetic entity. THANK YOU 😊

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