A.S. Byatt: Recipient of the 2009 Blue Metropolis Literary Grand Prix
Born in Yorkshire in 1936, Antonia Susan Byatt is best known for her Booker Prize-winning novel Possession (1990), the story of two academic researchers whose lives mirror the romantically linked Victorian poets they are studying. A graduate of Newnham College (Cambridge) and Somerville College (Oxford), Byatt is an ambitious and intellectual writer of international reputation whose work regularly merges realism with fantasy. Inspired by genuine historical figures and traditions, Byatt often draws parallels and contrasts between lives and centuries in her work, weaving throughout her interests in history, biology and philosophy.
Byatt, whose work has been widely translated, is the author of more than two dozen works of fiction, including Angels & Insects (1992), The Matisse Stories (1993), The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye (1994), The Biographer's Tale (2000), and the quartet of novels The Virgin in the Garden (1978), Still Life (1985), Babel Tower (1996) and A Whistling Woman (2002). She was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1999 and Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2003.
The Children's Book
The international launch of A.S. Byatt's new novel took place on April 22, 2009 - Opening Night of the 11th Blue Met Festival. The Children's Book (Knopf Canada) is a compulsively readable, panoramic story about the loss of childhood and family secrets, set in the looming shadow of World War I, against the backdrop of a bohemian Edwardian world. It tells the story of a famous writer, Olive Wellwood, who is writing a private book for each of her children. This vivid, rich and moving saga is played out against the great, rippling tides of the day, taking us from the Kent marshes to Paris and Munich and the trenches of the Somme.