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Ann Quin (born 17 Mar 1936 in Brighton, Sussex-? Aug 1973) was a British writer noted for her experimental style. The author of Berg (1964), Three (1966), Passages (1969) and Tripticks (1972), she committed suicide in 1973 at the age of 37, the same year as B.S. Johnson (to whom she is often compared). More recently[when?] Stewart Home has written in admiration of her work, which remains largely overlooked, although Berg was adapted for film in 1989 as Killing Dad starring Denholm Elliott and Richard E. Grant.
Quin is associated[by whom?] with a loosely constituted circle of 'experimental' authors in Sixties Britain, headed by B.S. Johnson and including Stefan Themerson, Rayner Heppenstall, Alan Burns and Eva Figes.
Quin came from a working-class family and was educated at a Roman Catholic school, the Convent of the Blessed Sacrament in Brighton, until the age of 17. She trained as a shorthand typist and worked in a solicitor's office, then at a publishing company when she moved to Soho and began writing novels. Her first, Berg, was published by John Calder in 1964. Influenced by Virginia Woolf and other female British modernists, as well as the French nouveau roman, the opening line - "A man called Berg, who changed his name to Greb, came to a seaside town intending to kill his father..." - set the tone for a dark, psychological farce set in Quin's hometown, which became the most critically acclaimed of her four novels.
Berg was followed by Three (1966), Passages (1969) and Tripticks (1972), in which Quin continued her formal experimentation, although without making the same critical impact as she had with her debut. She committed suicide in 1973, drowning herself by swimming out into the sea off Brighton's Palace Pier, weeks before the death of her contemporary B. S. Johnson. Despite a complete re-print of her works by the Dalkey Archive Press, Quin's critical stock has rather declined since the Sixties,[opinion] although contemporary non-mainstream authors such as Stewart Home and Lee Rourke have cited her work as influential.
- AnnQuin.com - 'A website responding to the little known, but highly compelling 1960s novelist.'
- Giles Gordon on Berg
- Lee Rourke's Guardian blog on Quin
- Article by Christine Fox on Quin's life and work
- Sharp Side Blog's page about Ann Quin
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