A. S. Byatt (1936-2023) was a British literary critic and author of 11 novels and six collections of short stories. A self-described greedy reader, she wove her many interests—biology, history, and philosophy among them—into her work. She was already a formidable literary figure in England when she achieved bestseller status in the U.S. with her Booker Prize-winning novel Possession: A Romance, which was made into a film in 2002.
Byatt's other fiction included The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye, The Matisse Stories, and a quartet of novels about the 1950s and 1960s (The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower, and A Whistling Woman). A film was made from Morpho Eugenia, the first novella of two in the book Angels and Insects, a Gothic fable that explored the multiple themes of earthly paradise and Darwin’s theories of breeding and sexuality with a parallel between insect and human society implied throughout.
Born in Yorkshire, England, A.S. Byatt read English at Cambridge and continued her studies at Bryn Mawr and Oxford. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1999 in recognition of her work as a writer and her overall service and contributions to the United Kingdom.