Anita Brookner

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Anita Brookner
Anita Brookner.jpg
Anita Brookner
Born (1928-07-16)16 July 1928
Herne Hill, London, UK
Died 10 March 2016(2016-03-10) (aged 87)
Occupation Art historian, novelist
Alma mater King's College London
Period 1981–2011
Genre Drama
Notable work Hotel du Lac

Anita Brookner, CBE (16 July 1928 – 10 March 2016[1]) was a British award-winning novelist and art historian. She was Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Cambridge from 1967 to 1968 and was the first woman to hold this visiting professorship. She was awarded the 1984 Man Booker Prize for her novel Hotel du Lac.

Life and death[edit]

Brookner was born in Herne Hill, a suburb of London.[2][3] She was the only child of Newson Bruckner, a Jewish immigrant from Poland, and Maude Schiska, a singer whose father had emigrated from Poland and founded a tobacco factory. Maude changed the family's surname to Brookner because of anti-German sentiment in Britain. Anita Brookner had a lonely childhood, although her grandmother and uncle lived with the family, and her parents, secular Jews, opened their house to Jewish refugees escaping Nazi persecution during the 1930s and World War II.

She was educated at the private James Allen's Girls' School. In 1949 she received a BA in History from King's College London, and in 1953 a doctorate in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.[4]

Brookner never married, but took care of her parents as they aged. She died on 10 March 2016, at the age of 87.



In 1967, she became the first woman to hold the Slade Professorship of Fine Art at Cambridge University. She was promoted to Reader at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 1977, where she worked until her retirement in 1988.[5] She was a Fellow of King's College London and of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.


Already a published author of nonfiction, Brookner published her first novel, A Start In Life (1981), at the age of 53. Thereafter, she published roughly a novel a year. Brookner was highly regarded as a stylist. Her novels explore themes of emotional loss and difficulties associated with fitting into society, and typically depict intellectual, middle-class women, who suffer isolation and disappointments in love. Many of Brookner's characters are the children of European immigrants to Britain; a number appear to be of Jewish descent.[2][6] Hotel du Lac (1984), her fourth novel, was awarded the Booker Prize.[7]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Anita Brookner, Booker Prize-winning author, dies age 87, Times announces". BBC News. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Dr Anita Brookner at British Council: Literature
  3. ^ "Anita Brookner, 1928– Notebooks, ca. 1986–1994". Harry Ransom Center. The University of Texas at Austin. Archived from the original on 10 March 2009. 
  4. ^ Cowell, Alan (2016-03-15). "Anita Brookner, Whose Bleak Fiction Won the Booker Prize, Dies at 87". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  5. ^ Olivier Berggruen. "Olivier Berggruen on Anita Brookner (1928–2016) - / passages". Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  6. ^ Malcolm, Cheryl Alexander. "Understanding Anita Brookner". University of South Carolina. Archived from the original on 31 December 2001. 
  7. ^ "Anita Brookner". London: The Times. Retrieved 14 March 2016. (subscription required (help)). 

External links[edit]