LEADING ENGLISH NOVELIST MARGARET DRABBLE TO READ
Margaret Drabble will read from her work on March 16, at 7:30 p.m., in Thomas Great Hall, as part of Bryn Mawr's Visiting Writers Series. Considered a "chronicler of the world" by David Plante of the New York Times, she has published 10 novels and is also the editor of The Oxford Companion to English Literature and author of A Writer's Britain.
Part of the reason for her popularity is her ability not only to create memorable characters, but also to "vividly document English social history," according to Plante. He goes on to say that "more than any other contemporary writer, [Margaret Drabble] has created a London we recognize simply by opening one of her books."
Born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England in 1939, Margaret Drabble was educated at a Quaker boarding school and awarded a scholarship to Cambridge University, where she read English and received double honors. She wrote her first novel, A Summer Birdcage (1963), after graduation. "I wrote my first novel," she recalls in an interview for The Oklahoma Review, "because I found a great gap in my life where I had been studying and reading."
Some of her subsequent novels include The Millstone (1965), winner of the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, Jerusalem the Golden (1967), winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction), and The Needle's Eye (1972), winner of the Yorkshire Post Book Award (Finest Fiction). Her most recent novel, The Seven Sisters (2002), portrays central character Candida Wilton beginning a new life in London after her marriage fails.
Drabble frequently makes women the central characters of her books and develops her characters in relation to the political, economic and social changes that Great Britain has experienced. Her novels can be read as a "private record" of the times in which her fictional people led their lives. "What I like to write about is the way social events affect the individual," she says. "It can go the other way, too. The stuff of the novel is how people behave." An astute observer of human nature as well as a chronicler of London, Drabble creates characters, firmly rooted in time and place, that embody the exchange between the personal and the social, the public and the private, the local and the global.
After the reading, Drabble will answer questions from the audience and sign books. The evening is sponsored by the Lucy Martin Donnelly Women Writers Series Fund.
to Bryn Mawr Now 2/26/2004