A.S. Byatt, Famous Author of Possession, Passes Away at 87

A.S. Byatt, a prolific British author, just passed away. Here’s what this talented author wrote, and how she impacted readers.

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A.S. Byatt book covers

British author A.S. Byatt, author of the Booker prize-winning novel Possession, has passed away at 87. Her passing was officially announced on November 16th, 2023. Here’s what this prolific author and critic did with her career so you can continue to enjoy Byatt’s talented work even after her tragic passing.

What Is Possession?

Possession was published back in 1990 and was one of Byatt’s most famous works. The novel follows the story of two young academics as they research the romance between two dead Victorian poets. It includes everything from mysterious letters to séances. While it is a romance, it also provides a lot of commentary on ideals and passions that make it a great work to critique and examine.

Possession by A.S. Byatt cover

Possession became a national bestseller and won England’s Booker Prize, an award given to the best-sustained work of fiction. While it may be Byatt’s most successful novel, she wrote many novels outside of it as well.

Who Was A.S. Byatt?

A.S. Byatt was a talented author with an extensive career. Her first work was published back in 1964, The Shadow of the Sun, which follows the story of seventeen-year-old Anna Severell, who is trying to discover who she is in the shadow of her father, who is a talented novelist.

The Shadow of the Sun cover by A.S. Byatt girl in doorway.

Byatt went on to publish 23 other works, including the Frederica Quartet, a series of four books about the 1950s and 1960s in Britain. This was followed by Possession, which became her most successful work, but all of her stories grew to have a literary impact within the industry and on readers. Most of her work revolved around literary criticism and had underlying meanings that readers loved to investigate. The symbolism and metaphors within her work kept readers engaged but provided deeper meaning that made her novels so popular and so impactful as to win awards like the Booker Prize.

How Was Her Passing Announced?

A.S. Byatt’s passing was officially announced through a statement by Penguin Random House. Within it, they detail the work that Byatt has produced and the awards she has achieved for her work. They also include the impact she had on the industry and some of the details of her life and her views. Her publisher at Chatto & Windus, along with her literary agent at RCW, her long-term editor, and the seller of her translation rights, all made statements expressing their appreciation for the work that Byatt did within the industry.

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…

Jenny Uglow, A.S. Byatt’s long-term editor

Byatt was a well-respected individual in publishing. As much as publishing impacted her life, she also impacted the lives of others with her work. Her work was translated into 38 languages and reached the hands of many readers who grew to love her style and critiques. Her memory will continue to live on in the hands of readers who love and still enjoy her work in the many stories she wrote. If you haven’t had the chance to read any of A.S. Byatt’s work, now is a great time to start reading to understand the impact that her stories had on so many readers.

If you enjoyed A.S. Byatt’s work, check out this list that provides similar reads.