Edward St Aubyn

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Edward St Aubyn
Edward St Aubyn in 2007.jpg
Born (1960-01-14) 14 January 1960 (age 58)
London, England
Education Westminster School
Alma mater Keble College, Oxford
Occupation Author, journalist
Nicola Shulman
(m. 1987; div. 1990)
Children 2

Edward St Aubyn (born 14 January 1960) is an English author and journalist most prominent for his semi-autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels. He is the author of eight novels. In 2006, Mother's Milk was nominated for the Booker Prize.

Family and personal life[edit]

Edward St Aubyn was born in London into an upper-class family, the son of Roger Geoffrey St Aubyn (1906–1985), a former soldier and a surgeon, and his second wife, Lorna Mackintosh (1929–2005). He is the great-great grandson of Sir Edward St Aubyn, 1st Baronet, whose eldest son was John St Aubyn, 1st Baron St Levan. His father was first married to Baroness Sophie Helene von Puthon of Schloss Mirabell in Salzburg, whom he divorced in 1957. His maternal grandparents were Capt. Alastair William Mackintosh of the Seaforth Highlanders, who later moved to Palm Beach, Florida, and New York heiress Lela Emery, daughter of Cincinnati businessman John Josiah Emery, Sr., and sister of John J. Emery, Jr. and Audrey Emery, wife of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia.[1] She later married the Duc de Talleyrand et Dino and resided in Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, France.[2] Alistair Mackintosh, a native of Inverness, was briefly married to American silent film star Constance Talmadge from 1926–1927.[3] He has an elder sister, Alexandra, and two half-sisters by his father's first marriage.[2]

St Aubyn grew up in London and France, where his family had a house.[4] He has described an unhappy childhood in which he was repeatedly raped by his abusive father, with the complicity of his mother, from the ages of 5 to 8.[4][5]

He attended Westminster School and in 1979 went on to read English at Keble College, Oxford, by which time he was a heroin addict.[4] He entered psychotherapy at the age of 25 and subsequently became a professional writer.

From 1987 to 1990, he was married to the author Nicola Shulman, now the Marchioness of Normanby.[2] St Aubyn has two children, and lives in London.

Patrick Melrose series[edit]

Five of St Aubyn's novels, Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother's Milk, and At Last, form The Patrick Melrose Novels, the first four of which were republished in a single volume in 2012, in anticipation of the fifth. They are based on the author's own life, growing up in a highly dysfunctional upper-class English family, dealing with the deaths of both parents, alcoholism, heroin addiction and recovery, and marriage and parenthood.[6]

Although the Melrose books are sometimes portrayed in the media as tales of decadent aristocracy, they are frequently caustic about the futility and triviality of people with inherited wealth, a point made very explicit in At Last, the final book in the Melrose series.

The books have been hailed as a powerful exploration of how emotional health can be carved out of childhood adversity.[7]

Mother's Milk was made into a feature film in 2012. The screenplay was written by St Aubyn and director Gerald Fox. It stars Jack Davenport, Adrian Dunbar, Diana Quick, and Margaret Tyzack in her last performance.

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Patrick Melrose (with the young Patrick played by Sebastian Maltz) in a five-part television series, with each episode based on a different novel in the series. The series is a joint production of Showtime and Sky Atlantic. The series premiered on Showtime on 12 May 2018 to favourable reviews.[8]

Awards and honours[edit]



  1. ^ "Former Husband of Film Actress to Wed". The Warren Tribune. Warren, Ohio: Ogden Newspapers Inc. September 7, 1928. p. 9. 
  2. ^ a b c Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). London, England: Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 3496. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1. 
  3. ^ "Film Actress's Divorce Suit". The Times. London, England: The Times Digital Archive. 29 September 1927. p. 9. 
  4. ^ a b c Brown, Mick (2 May 2014). "How writing helped Edward St Aubyn exorcise his demons". The Daily Telegraph. London, England: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 4 May 2014. (Subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ Moss, Stephen (17 August 2011). "Edward St Aubyn: 'Writing is horrible'". The Guardian. London, England: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Kakutani, Michiko (February 21, 2012). "Laying to Rest Familial Horrors: Edward St. Aubyn's 'At Last,' an Autobiographical Novel". The New York Times. New York City: New York Times Company. Retrieved October 1, 2012. 
  7. ^ James, O.W. (2013). How to Achieve Emotional Health. London, England: Vermilion. 
  8. ^ Villarreal, Yvonne (May 12, 2018). "Benedict Cumberbatch takes on a dream role in Showtime's 'Patrick Melrose' — thanks to Reddit". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California: Tronc. Retrieved July 26, 2018. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]