Eva Figes

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Eva Figes
BornEva Unger Edit this on Wikidata
15 April 1932 Edit this on Wikidata
Berlin Edit this on Wikidata
Died28 August 2012 Edit this on Wikidata (aged 80)
Greater London Edit this on Wikidata
Alma materQueen Mary College
OccupationNovelist, social critic edit this on wikidata
AwardsGuardian Fiction Prize Edit this on Wikidata

Eva Figes (/ˈfz/; 15 April 1932 – 28 August 2012) was an English author.[1] Figes wrote novels, literary criticism, studies of feminism, and vivid memoirs relating to her Berlin childhood and later experiences as a Jewish refugee from Hitler's Germany.


Born Eva Unger, she arrived in Britain in 1939 with her parents, Peter and Irma Unger, and her younger brother, Ernst.[2][3]

After graduating B.A. with honours from Queen Mary College in London in 1953, she worked in publishing until 1967, when she became a full-time writer.[4]

She was married in 1954 to John George Figes.[5] They had two children: the writer Catherine J. ("Kate") Figes,[6] and the academic Orlando Figes.[7]

The marriage was dissolved by divorce in 1962.[3]

In the 1960s she was associated with an informal group of experimental British writers influenced by Rayner Heppenstall that included Stefan Themerson, Ann Quin, Alan Burns, and its informal leader, B. S. Johnson.

Figes' 1983 novel, Light, is an impressionistic portrait of a single day in the life of Claude Monet from sunrise to sunset. Her best known work is probably Patriarchal Attitudes, a feminist polemic written in 1970, and she won the Guardian Fiction Prize for Winter Journey in 1967.

Selected bibliography[edit]


  • Equinox (1966)
  • Winter Journey (1967)
  • Konek Landing (1969)
  • B (1972)
  • Days (1974)
  • Nelly's Version (1977)
  • Waking (1981)
  • Light (1983)
  • The Seven Ages: A Novel (1986)
  • Ghosts (1988)
  • The Tree of Knowledge (1990)
  • The Tenancy (1993)
  • The Knot (1996)

Literary and social criticism[edit]

  • Patriarchal Attitudes: Women in Society (1970)
  • Tragedy and Social Evolution (1976)
  • Sex and Subterfuge: Women Writers to 1850 (1982)
  • Women's Letters in Wartime, 1450-1945 (1993)


  • Little Eden: A Child at War (1978)
  • Tales of Innocence and Experience: An Exploration (2004)
  • Journey to Nowhere (2008)


  1. ^ Eva Tucker (7 September 2012). "Eva Figes obituary | Books". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
  2. ^ Flood, Alison (12 October 2009). "British Library acquires Eva Figes archive". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b Eva Tucker (7 September 2012). "Eva Figes obituary | Books". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
  4. ^ "Eva Figes". The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  5. ^ Marriage registered in Westminster Registration District in the third quarter of 1954.
  6. ^ "Eva Figes". Bloomsbury Publishing. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  7. ^ Births registered in Westminster Registration District in the last quarter of 1957 and in the Islington Registration District in the last quarter of 1959.