Celebrated British author A.S. Byatt—a scholar and novelist whose 1990 novel, Possession, won the Booker Prize and brought her international renown—has died at the age of 87.
A statement released this morning by her longtime UK publisher, Chatto & Windus, reports that Byatt “died peacefully at home surrounded by close family.”
Byatt’s longtime editor, Jenny Uglow, penned the following tribute to her client and friend:
Working with Antonia Byatt was full of surprises. She was fascinated by metamorphosis, from the unexpected turn of individual lives, which she explored in early books like Still Life, to the chilling fantasy of short stories like “A Stone Woman,” and she was defiantly original, as with the inclusion of the poetry in Possession, or the form of her most original book, The Biographer’s Tale. Like many writers, she could hold the germ of a story in her head for a long time, sometimes for years, but when it emerged she would work on it assiduously in her notebooks and in conversations, reading widely to clarify the background of intellectual movements and artistic ideas, and mapping every scene in detail in her head, from the colours of clothes and the names of minor characters—which were often bizarre—to the complexity of train timetables. Finally, the shape was fully formed in her mind. Then it would flow on to the page, with not a change to be made.