Deborah Levy FRSL (born 1959) is a British playwright, novelist, and poet. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company and she is the author of novels including Beautiful Mutants, Swallowing Geography, Billy and Girl, and the Booker-shortlisted Swimming Home.
Levy was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her father was a member of the African National Congress and an academic and historian. The family emigrated to Wembley Park, in 1968. Her parents divorced in 1974.
Levy trained at Dartington College of Arts, leaving in 1981 to write a number of plays, including Pax, Heresies for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and others which are published in Levy: Plays 1 (Methuen).
Deborah wrote and published her first novel Beautiful Mutants, in 1986. Her second novel, Swallowing Geography, was published in 1993 by Jonathan Cape, while her third, Billy and Girl, was published in 1996 by Bloomsbury. Her short story Proletarian Zen was published in PEN New Fiction in 1985 by PEN International and Quartet Books.
Swimming Home was published in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012 among other awards. Levy published a short story collection, Black Vodka in 2013, which cemented her reputation as "one of the most exciting voices in contemporary British fiction." Her novel Hot Milk was published in 2016 and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016.
She has always written across a number of art forms (see Bookworks and Collaborations with visual artists) and was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1989 to 1991.
Awards and honours
- 2001 Lannan Literary Fellowship, and 2004 Residency, Marfa
- 2012 Specsavers National Book Awards, UK Author of the Year prize shortlist for Swimming Home
- 2012 Man Booker Prize shortlist for Swimming Home and Other Stories
- 2012 BBC International Short Story Award shortlist for "Black Vodka"
- 2013 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize shortlist for Swimming Home
- 2013 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award shortlist for Black Vodka
- 2016 Man Booker Prize shortlist for Hot Milk
- 2017 Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature
- Wagner, Erica, "Hot Milk by Deborah Levy review – powerful novel of interior life", The Guardian, 27 March 2016. ("Levy’s last novel, Swimming Home, was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2012.")
- Crown, Sarah (19 March 2016). "Deborah Levy: 'Space Oddity' seemed to be about leaving the land I was born in. Being unable to return. It can still make me cry". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
- Danziger, Danny (3 October 1994). "The worst of times: Life after apartheid: snot and tears: Deborah Levy talks to Danny Danziger". The Independent.
- Elaine Aston, Janelle G. Reinelt (2000). The Cambridge companion to modern British women playwrights. Cambridge University Press. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-521-59533-9.
- Deborah Levy. Contemporarywriters.com (20 February 2007). Retrieved 10 August 2011.
- "Man Booker Nominees (shortlist) 2012". Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- Elkin, Lauren. "The New Together." Times Literary Supplement, 13 March 2015. https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/the-new-together/
- "The 2016 Shortlist", The Man Booker Prize.
- Redrup, Pete (13 November 2016). "Behold! November's Quietus Comics Round Up Column". The Quietus. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
- Lannan Foundation. Lannan.org (6 August 2011). Retrieved on 10 August 2011.
- Specsavers National Book Awards 2012
- BBC International Short Story Award 2012 shortlist Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize 2013 Archived 5 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- Alison Flood (31 May 2013). "Frank O'Connor short story award pits UK authors against international stars". The Guardian. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
- Natasha Onwuemezi, "Rankin, McDermid and Levy named new RSL fellows", The Bookseller, 7 June 2017.