Anita Brookner

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Anita Brookner
Born (1928-07-16) 16 July 1928 (age 87)
Herne Hill, London, United Kingdom
Occupation Novelist
Genre Drama

Anita Brookner, CBE (born 16 July 1928) is 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.

Personal life and education[edit]

Brookner was born in Herne Hill, a suburb of London.[1][2] She was the only child of Newson Bruckner, a Polish immigrant to Britain, 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.

Brookner 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.

Brookner has not married, but took care of her parents as they aged.


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.

Brookner published her first novel, A Start In Life in 1981, at the age of 53. Since then she has published a novel approximately every year.

In 1990 she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). She is a Fellow of King's College London and of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.


Brookner is 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.[1][3] Brookner's fourth book, Hotel du Lac (1984) was awarded the Booker Prize.



  • Greuze 1725-1805: The Rise and Fall of an Eighteenth-century Phenomenon (1972)
  • Jacques-Louis David (1980)
  • A Start in Life (1981, US title The Debut)
  • Providence (1982)
  • Look at Me (1983)
  • Hotel du Lac (1984), won the Booker Prize
  • Family and Friends (1985)
  • A Misalliance (1986)
  • A Friend from England (1987)
  • Latecomers (1988)
  • Lewis Percy (1989)
  • Brief Lives (1990)
  • A Closed Eye (1991)
  • Fraud (1992)
  • A Family Romance (1993, US title Dolly)
  • A Private View (1994)
  • Incidents in the Rue Laugier (1995)
  • Altered States (1996)
  • Visitors (1997)
  • Falling Slowly (1998)
  • Undue Influence (1999)
  • The Bay of Angels (2001)
  • The Next Big Thing (2002, US title Making Things Better), longlisted for the Booker Prize
  • The Rules of Engagement (2003)
  • Leaving Home (2005)
  • Strangers (2009)
  • At The Hairdressers (2011), novella, available as an ebook only

See also[edit]


External links[edit]