Michèle Roberts

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Michèle Brigitte Roberts (born 20 May 1949) is a British writer, novelist and poet. Roberts was the daughter of a French Catholic teacher mother (Monique Caulle) and English Protestant father (Reginald Roberts); she has dual UK-France nationality.

Early life[edit]

Roberts was born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, but raised raised in Edgware, Middlesex. She was educated at a convent, expecting to become a nun, before reading English at Somerville College, Oxford, where she lost her Catholic faith.[1] She also studied at University College London training to be a librarian. She worked for the British Council in Bangkok, Thailand in this role from 1973 to 1974.


Active in socialist and feminist politics (the Women's Liberation Movement) since the early 1970s, she formed a writers' collective with Sara Maitland, Michelene Wandor and Zoe Fairbairns. At this time she was the Poetry Editor (1975-7) at Spare Rib, the feminist magazine, and later at City Limits (1981–83). Her first novel A Piece of the Night was published in 1978 and Daughters of the House (1992) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

She is a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, awarded by the French government, but has turned down an OBE as a consequence of her republican views.[2]

Michèle Roberts is an Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and was Visiting Professor in Writing at Nottingham Trent University for several years. Paper Houses, a memoir of her life since 1970, was published in 2007.



  • Food, Sex & God: on Inspiration and Writing, 1988, Virago


  • A Piece of the Night, 1978, Women's Press
  • The Visitation, 1978, Women's Press
  • The Wild Girl (Also known as The Secret Gospel of Mary Magdalene), 1984, Methuen
  • The Book of Mrs Noah, 1987, Methuen
  • In the Red Kitchen, 1990, Methuen
  • Psyche and the Hurricane, 1991, Methuen
  • Daughters of the House, 1992, Virago and Morrow (USA)
  • During Mother's Absence, 1992, Virago
  • Flesh & Blood, 1994, Virago
  • Impossible Saints. Hopewell, 1998, Ecco Press
  • Fair Exchange, 1999, Little, Brown
  • The Looking Glass, 2000, Little, Brown
  • The Mistressclass, 2002, Little, Brown
  • Reader, I Married Him, 2006, Little, Brown
  • Ignorance, 2012, Bloomsbury Publishing [3]


  • The Mirror of the Mother, 1986, Methuen
  • Psyche and the Hurricane , 1991, Methuen
  • All the Selves I Was, 1995, Virago

Short stories[edit]

  • Your Shoes, 1991[4]
  • During Mother's Absence, 1993, Virago
  • Playing Sardines, 2001, Virago
  • Mud: Stories of Sex and Love, 2010, Virago


  1. ^ Discussed in Paper Houses.
  2. ^ Roberts' personal biography
  3. ^ Guardian review of Ignorance, 2012
  4. ^ BBC English literature

External links[edit]