A.S. Byatt was born Antonia Susan Drabble in 1936 in England. Her father was a judge, and her mother was a working class girl who made her way to Cambridge, but gave up her academic life to look after her family. Byatt's younger sister is the novelist Margaret Drabble, in whose literary shadow Byatt herself toiled for some years, until she gained her own place in the sun with the publication of Possession, for which she won the Booker Prize in 1990. Byatt is today recognized as a distinguished and well-respected writer who has most recently published The Biographer's Tale; earlier works include the burgeoning tetraology which so far is contained in The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, and Babel Tower; two novellas published as Angels and Insects (the movie of the same name was based on the one called "Morpho Eugenia"); two critical biographies of Iris Murdoch; and numerous other fiction and critical works.
As a girl Byatt confesses that she was bookish and asthmatic, shy and smart. She went on to be educated at Cambridge, Bryn Mawr, and Oxford and taught at London's University College for 11 years before turning to full-time writing. She has labelled her politics as radical and her outlook as feminist; critics have called her a postmodern Victorian, I think because of her wide-ranging theoretical and practical interests as well as the non-linear structure of her novels. Her writings are intellectual, literary, and weighty, but not dull; Possession, which I've just finished, had me laughing out loud at times.
A comprehensive list of Byatt's work can be found at