Antonia Susan Byatt


Biography of Antonia Susan Byatt

Dame Antonia Susan Duffy, known as A. S. Byatt (born 24 August 1936) is an English novelist, poet and Booker Prize winner. In 2008, The Times newspaper named her on its list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945.

Byatt was born in Sheffield as Antonia Susan Drabble, the daughter of John Drabble and Kathleen Bloor, a scholar of Browning. Her upbringing was fairly unhappy as she struggled against her domineering mother. Byatt was educated at two independent boarding schools, Sheffield High School and the Quaker Mount School in York. She noted in an interview in 2009 "I am not a Quaker, of course, because I'm anti-Christian and the Quakers are a form of Christianity but their religion is wonderful – you simply sat in silence and listened to the nature of things." The family had moved to York as a result of the bombing of Sheffield during the Second World War. She did not enjoy boarding school, citing her need to be alone and her difficulty in making friends. She went on to Newnham College, Cambridge, Bryn Mawr in the United States, and Somerville College, Oxford. Sister to novelist Margaret Drabble and art historian Helen Langdon, Byatt lectured in the Department of Extra-Mural Studies of London University (1962–71), the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and from 1972 to 1983 at University College London.

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