Polly Coles grew up in London and also went to school in Australia. She studied English at Oxford University before becoming a primary school teacher working in in inner-city London. In 1990, she completed a Masters in Anthropology at the LSE, after which she started writing full-time. Polly writes fiction and about art, as well as abridging for BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime and Book of the Week.
She was closely involved in the recording of the complete Arkangel Shakespeare for Pacificus Productions and, most recently, has written texts to accompany two exhibitions at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford. She and her partner, the violin maker Andrea Ortona, have four children and divide their time between Italy and England.
The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice by Polly Coles Blurb
This is the story of ordinary life in an extraordinary place.
The beautiful city of Venice has been a fantasy land for people from around the globe for centuries, but what is it like to live there? To move house by boat, to get a child with a broken leg to hospital or to set off for school one morning only to find that the streets have become rivers and the playground is a lake full of sewage?
When Polly Coles and her family left England for Venice, they discovered a city caught between modern and ancient life – where the locals still go on an annual pilgrimage to give thanks for the end of the Black Death; where schools are housed in renaissance palaces and your new washing machine can only be delivered on foot.
This is a city perilously under siege from tourism, but its people refuse to give it up – indeed, they love it with a passion. The Politics of Washing is a fascinating window into the world of ordinary Venetians and the strange and unique place they call home.