Margaret Drabble (1939– ). A novelist known for her interest in women’s lives and experiences. Born in Yorkshire, she was educated at Cambridge and enjoyed a brief career as an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company. (Her first husband, the actor Clive Swift, starred in the British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances.) From 1963 to 1969, Drabble published five novels, including the award-winning The Millstone. It was an impressive beginning, establishing Drabble as a writer in the tradition of George Eliot and Virginia Woolf, interested in the pressures confronting ambitious women. Drabble’s later novels include The Needle’s Eye (1972), The Ice Age (1977), and a trilogy focused on the friendship of three women: The Radiant Way (1987), A Natural Curiosity (1989), and The Gates of Ivory (1991). Her critical writings include essays on classic novelists from Jane Austen and Emily Brontë to Thomas Hardy. Drabble is also the editor of the indispensable reference work The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Her sister is the novelist A. S. Byatt.
[Courtesy: Professor Timothy Spurgin]