Lisa St Aubin de Terán

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Lisa St Aubin de Terán (born 2 October 1953) is an English novelist, writer of autobiographical fictions, and memoirist. Her father was the Guyanese writer Jan Carew.[1]


Lisa St Aubin de Terán was born in 1953 (to Joan Mary Murray and Jan Carew)[2] and brought up in Clapham in South London. She attended the James Allen's Girls' School. Her memoir, Hacienda (1998), describes how she fell into a whirlwind first marriage to an exiled Venezuelan landowner, Jaime Terán, living for seven years at a remote farm in the Andean region of Venezuela.[3]

Her second husband was the Scottish poet and novelist George MacBeth. In 1982 she published her first novel, Keepers of the House, winning the Somerset Maugham Award and a place on Granta's "Best of Young British Novelists" list (1983, issue #7). The Slow Train to Milan, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, followed in 1983. In the same year she moved to Wiggenhall St. Mary Magdalen in Norfolk. After her second marriage ended she returned to live in Italy.[4]

In 1994 she presented an episode of the BBC television series Great Railway Journeys.

Her third husband was the painter Robbie Duff Scott (born 1959), with whom she moved to Umbria, describing her life there in A Valley in Italy (1995).

Her work includes further novels and memoirs (including Memory Maps in 2003), short-story collections and poetry. Otto (Virago), a fictionalised biography,[5] was published in 2006.

She has three children, including by her first husband a daughter, Iseult Teran, also a novelist. St Aubin de Terán now lives with her partner Mees van Deth in Mossuril, Nampula Province, Mozambique, where she has set up the Terán Foundation.[6] This phase of her life has been described in Mozambique Mysteries (2007).[7]

Terán Foundation's first project, The College of Tourism and Agriculture (CTCA) in Cabaceira Grande, functioned between 2004 and 2010 before it was sold back to the government. A second restaurant and guest house, Sunset Boulevard, functions on a non-profit basis as a training facility in Mossuril. The third building project, The Leopard Spot, is currently under construction in Milange, on the border with Malawi.


  • Keepers of the House (novel) (Somerset Maugham Award), 1982
  • The Slow Train to Milan, (John Llewellyn Rhys Prize) 1983
  • The Tiger, 1984
  • The Bay of Silence, 1986
  • Black Idol, 1987
  • Joanna, 1990
  • Off the Rails: Memoirs of a Train Addict (memoir), 1990
  • Nocturne, 1992
  • Venice: The Four Seasons, 1992
  • The Tiger, 1994
  • A Valley in Italy, 1995
  • The Hacienda (memoir), 1998
  • The Palace, 1998
  • Indiscreet Journeys: Stories of Women on the Road (editor), 1990
  • Southpaw (short stories), 1999
  • Virago Book of Wanderlust and Dreams (anthology), 1999
  • The Marble Mountain and other stories (short stories), 1989
  • The High Place (poetry), 1985
  • Memory Maps, 2003
  • Otto, 2006 (Swallowing Stones, 2004)
  • Mozambique Mysteries, 2007


  1. Obituary: Jan R. Carew, The Courier-Journal, 9 December 2012.
  2. Margaret Busby, "Jan Carew obituary", The Guardian, 21 December 2012.
  3. Michael Upchurch, "The Robber's Bride: A new memoir by Lisa St. Aubin de Terán tells how a young person can get in a terrible jam", The New York Times, 12 April 1998.
  4. Wiggenhall St. Mary Magdalen, Literary Norfolk.
  5. Marianne Brace, "Lisa St Aubin de Terán: Stronger than fiction", The Independent, 18 February 2005.
  6. "About Us", Teran Foundation.
  7. Lesley McDowell, "Mozambique Mysteries, By Lisa St Aubin de Teran" (review), The Independent, 28 November 2010.

External links