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episode 102 - A. S. Byatt - part 01

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Uploaded on Jun 16, 2011

British writer A.S. Byatt is the author of dozens of novels, stories, and critical works. Her bestselling novel, Possession, won the 1990 Man Booker Prize, Britain's highest literary award, and her 2009 novel, The Children's Book, was short-listed for the same honor. Noting that she wishes to write about whole human beings, Byatt advocates for novels that convey the life of the mind as well as the heart. She talks about her career as a scholar and university teacher, her abandoning of scholarship for creative writing, the challenges of crafting Possession, and the importance of Shakespeare, George Eliot, Balzac, and Proust to her work. In discussing her composition of The Children's Book, a novel in which the arts and crafts movement plays a prominent role, Byatt observes that she likes having a hero or heroine who "makes" things. Byatt, who is the sister of novelist Margaret Drabble and art historian Helen Langdon, notes that although she comes from a highly accomplished family of writers, she nevertheless practices her craft in solitude. "I'm not a group animal," she says. "I'm a solitary animal."

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