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A S Byatt


A S Byatt was born Antonia Susan Drabble in Sheffield in 1936, the eldest daughter of a judge. Her younger sister is the writer Margaret Drabble. She took a first class degree in English at Newnham College, Cambridge. After doing postgraduate work at Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania and Oxford University, she lectured at the Central School of Art and Design (now Central Saint Martins) and University College, London. In 1959, she married Ian Byatt, an economist. They had a son and a daughter. They were divorced in 1969 and she married Peter Duffy. They had two daughters. Her earlier writings had comparatively little success and she was outshone by her younger sister but, starting in the 1990s, when she won the Booker Prize for Possession: a Romance , her success has far eclipsed her sister’s. Her writing is highly intellectual – it assumes a familiarity with English literature – but she also tells a wonderful story and makes her characters alive and interesting. The beauty of Byatt’s novels, as with other great novels, is that they work well on so many levels – romance, psychological study, intellectual discourse, old fashioned storytelling, all are part of Byatt’s work. She died in 2023.

Other links

A.S. Byatt (Byatt’s own website)
A.S. Byatt
A.S. Byatt
Featured Author: A.S. Byatt
A.S. Byatt and the goblet of bile (comments on Byatt’s criticism of Harry Potter)
Of the Making of Many Lists
Writer’s rooms: AS Byatt
Why Margaret Drabble is not A S Byatt’s cup of tea
You couldn’t make it up (on a documentary made of Byatt)
Case study: Dame A.S. Byatt (on the portrait painted of her)
A.S. in Wonderland (on her favourite books)
Harry Potter and the Childish Adult
A Stone Woman (story by Byatt)
Raw Material (story by Byatt)
Sea Story (story by Byatt)
Trench Names (poem by Byatt)
How we lost our sense of smell (article by Byatt)
Painted faces (article by Byatt on the relationship between writers’ and artists’ images)
Scenes from a provincial life (article by Byatt on Madame Bovary)
A Delicate Form of Genius (article by Byatt on Penelope Fitzgerald)
American pastoral (article by Byatt on Willa Cather)
Wit and wisdom (article by Byatt on Middlemarch)
Narrate Or Die (article by Byatt on The Thousand and One Nights)
Petal power (article by Byatt on painter Jo Self)
The wild ones (article by Byatt on fairies and other spirits)
Browsing through the past (article by Byatt on the digital archive)
Lie back and think of Europe (article by Byatt on the Euro 2008 football tournament)
On-line chat


1964 Shadow of a Sun
1965 Degrees of Freedom – the Novels of Iris Murdoch
1967 The Game
1970 Wordsworth and Coleridge in their Time
1976 Iris Murdoch
1978 The Virgin in the Garden
1985 Still Life
1987 Sugar and Other Stories
1989 Unruly Times: Wordsworth and Coleridge, Poetry and Life
1990 Possession: a Romance
1991 Passions of the Mind: Selected Writings
1992 Angels and Insects
1993 The Matisse Stories
1994 The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye: Five Fairy Stories
1996 Babel Tower
1997 Imagining Characters: Conversations about Women Writers: Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Willa Cather, Iris Murdoch and Toni Morrison (with Ignês Sodré)
1998 Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice
2000 On Histories and Stories: Selected Essays
2000 The Biographer’s Tale
2001 Portraits in Fiction
2001 The Bird Hand Book
2002 A Whistling Woman
2003 Little Black Book of Stories
2009 The Children’s Book
2011 Ragnarok: the End of the Gods (mythology)
2016 Peacock & Vine: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny
2021 Medusa’s Ankles (stories)