Anita Brookner, art historian and Booker prize winner, dies age 87

Historians in the News
tags: obituary, Anita Brookner

The literary world was in mourning for Anita Brookner, the celebrated novelist and art historian, who has died.

Brookner, the surprise winner of the Booker prize for fiction in 1984, was 87. She was highly regarded for her style and stories centring on the theme of middle-class loneliness, often featuring female protagonists.

She had been rated a 6-1 outsider when her fourth novel, Hotel du Lac, was the unexpected winner of the Booker prize in 1984. Described by the judges as “a work of perfect artifice”, the tale of a heroine coming to terms with loveless solitude at a Swiss hotel eclipsed JG Ballard’s Empire of the Sun, which had been considered a runaway favorite.

Born into an immigrant family in Herne Hill, south London, in July 1928, Brookner’s Jewish background was to inform much of her writing in later life.

Her parents were Poles who changed their name from Bruckner – “like calling yourself Batehoven,” she said in a Guardian interview in which she confessed to feeling socially invisible. “I am used as a listener by a great many people,” she said.

Brookner studied at King’s College, London and at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, before becoming, in 1967, the first woman to be named as Slade professor of art at Cambridge University. ...

Read entire article at The Guardian

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