Biography of A. S. Byatt

A.S Byatt was born Antonia Susan Duffy; she writes under a name consisting of her initials and the surname of her first husband. Byatt was born on August 24 1936 in Sheffield, England. She was born into a well-educated family: her father and brother were both lawyers, while her mother was a literary scholar with a focus on the Victorian poet Robert Browning. Byatt's sisters would go on to become an author and an art historian. Byatt was educated at boarding schools before going to Cambridge to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree. She followed this with further degrees at Bryn Mawr College and Oxford.

Byatt published her first novel, The Shadow of the Sun, in 1964. This marked the start of a prolific writing career, including fiction, short story collections, biographies, essays, and the editing of scholarly collections. Byatt taught in the Extra-Mural Department of London University and the Central School of Art and Design, and in 1972 became full-time Lecturer in English and American Literature at University College, London. She would be active as a Lecturer until 1983, when she chose to focus on writing full-time.

Byatt won her first major literary award in 1989, when her novel Still Life was awarded the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award. Since then, she has won the Booker Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize; she has also been awarded a number of honorary doctorates and been named a Dame of the British Empire.

Byatt married Ian Charles Rayner Byatt in 1959 and they divorced in 1969. She remarried Peter John Duffy the same year, and is the mother of three daughters.


Study Guides on Works by A. S. Byatt

The Children's Book was written by A. S. Byatt, an award-winning author who has accrued international fame for her novels and short stories. This historical fiction novel was originally published during 2009 and was later published during 2010 by...

Possession was published in 1990; it is Byatt's fifth novel, and widely considered to be her most successful. The novel is inspired by Byatt's interest in Victorian literature, and her own work as an academic researcher and lecturer. It also...