Dame Antonia Susan Duffy known professionally as AS Byatt was an English critic, novelist, poet and short story writer who died on 16 November 2023 at the age of 87.
She was best known for her Booker Prize-winning novel Possession: A Romance, which explored the lives and works of two fictional Victorian poets through a contemporary academic mystery.
She also wrote a quartet of novels about post-war Britain, as well as many other books that combined history, myth, art and literature.
AS Byatt received many awards and honors for her contributions to literature, such as the Shakespeare Prize, the Erasmus Prize, the Park Kyong-ni Prize and the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award.
AS Byatt Biography
Antonia Susan Drabble was born in Sheffield, England, on 24 August 1936, as the eldest child of John Frederick Drabble, QC, later a County Court judge, and Kathleen Bloor, a scholar of Browning.
Her sisters are the novelist Margaret Drabble and the art historian Helen Langdon. Her brother Richard Drabble KC is a barrister.
The Drabble father participated in the placement of Jewish refugees in Sheffield during the 1930s.
The mother was a Shavian and the father a Quaker. As a result of the bombing of Sheffield during the Second World War the family moved to York.
Byatt was educated at two independent boarding schools, Sheffield High School and The Mount School, a Quaker boarding school at 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.”
A “deeply unhappy” child, Byatt did not enjoy boarding school, citing her need to be alone and her difficulty in making friends.
She attended Newnham College, Cambridge, Bryn Mawr College (in the United States), and Somerville College, Oxford.
Having studied French, German, Latin, and English at school, she later studied Italian while attending Cambridge so that she could read Dante.
“This means that I can actually read European literature with its own rhythms even if I have to have a side-by-side text for the difficult bits”, she said in 1998.
Byatt lectured in the Department of Extra-Mural Studies of the University of London, the Central School of Art and Design and from 1972 to 1983 at University College London.
She began writing full-time in 1983.
AS Byatt Age
AS Byatt was born on 24 August 1936, so she was 87 years old when she died on 16 November 2023.
AS Byatt Husband
AS Byatt had two husbands in her life. Her first husband was Ian Byatt, whom she married in 1959 and divorced in 1969.
They had two children together, a son and a daughter.
Her second husband was Peter Duffy, whom she married in 1969 and remained with until her death. They also had two daughters.
AS Byatt Children
AS Byatt had four children in her life, two from each of her marriages. Her children were:
Antonia Byatt, her eldest daughter, who became a writer and editor like her mother.
She wrote novels, short stories, and essays, and edited several anthologies of contemporary fiction.
She also taught creative writing at various universities and was a judge for literary prizes. She died of cancer in 2021, aged 61.
Charles Byatt, her only son, who was killed by a drunk-driver at the age of 11 while walking home from school in 1972.
Isabel Duffy, her second daughter, who became a lawyer and a human rights activist.
She worked for various international organizations, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations.
She also wrote articles and books on human rights issues, such as torture, refugees, and women’s rights.
She was married to a journalist and had two children.
AS Byatt Byatt Family
AS Byatt’s family list is as follows:
Parents: John Drabble and Kathleen Bloor, both teachers and writers.
Siblings: Margaret Drabble, a novelist and critic; Helen Langdon, an art historian and biographer; and Richard Drabble, a QC and judge.
First husband: Ian Byatt, an economist and civil servant.
Second husband: Peter Duffy, a novelist and journalist.
Children: Antonia Byatt, a writer and editor; Charles Byatt, a student; Isabel Duffy, a lawyer and activist; and Miranda Duffy, a painter and sculptor.
Grandchildren: Four from Isabel, two from Antonia, and one from Miranda.
AS Byatt Net worth
AS Byatt’s net worth was estimated to be 6.23 million USD as of November 2023.
AS Byatt Cause of Death
The Booker Prize-winning author and critic AS Byatt died on 16 November 2023 at the age of 87.
Her publisher announced the news on Friday (17 November), noting that she died peacefully at home, surrounded by family.
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