The Man Booker Prize shortlisted authors Adam Foulds (L), Hilary Mantel (2nd L), A S Byatt (2nd R) and Simon Mawer [Source: Reuters]
Booker-prize winning British novelist Antonia Susan Byatt, known most commonly as A.S. Byatt, has died aged 87, her publisher said in a statement on Friday.
Byatt, whose career spanned nearly 60 years, was best known for her 1990 novel “Possession: A Romance”. She was the sister of the novelist Margaret Drabble, and the siblings drew parallels with the Brontes, a comparison they tended to spurn.
Her publisher Chatto & Windus, part of Penguin Random House, described her as “one of the most significant writers and critics of our time”.
“She died peacefully at home surrounded by close family,” it said in a statement. “Antonia had a remarkable mind which produced a unique creative vision.”
A mother of three daughters, Byatt was struck by tragedy when her only son Charles was killed crossing the road in the week of his 11th birthday.
Byatt was born on August 24, 1936, in the northern English city of Sheffield and was educated at a Quaker school in nearby York. She studied at Cambridge and Oxford before going on to teach English and American Literature in London from 1972.
Her first novel “Shadow of a Sun” was published in 1964, and told the story of a young girl growing up in the shadow of a dominant father.
More works followed, some of them frantically written in university vacations. Byatt eventually gave up teaching to write full time in 1983.
Seven years later came her breakthrough with Possession, which became a bestseller and won the coveted Booker Prize for Fiction the same year.