I’ve been inspired by a question that Simon asked his discussion post during Muriel Spark Reading Week which he co-hosted with Harriet. Simon asked “Which other authors would you recommend to the Spark fan?” and my immediate response was Beryl Bainbridge!
I’ve read just four of Bainbridge’s fifteen novels, but each one has been a joy. They are:
- The Bottle Factory Outing – read just the other month – her 4th novel set in early 1970s London;
- The Birthday Boys – one of her historical novels from 1991 about Scott of the Antarctic;
- Every man for himself about the Titanic;
- and pre-blog, An awfully big adventure, about a provincial theatre production of Peter Pan.
In my view, she is Spark’s natural inheritor, coming into her own a decade after Muriel. She is renowned for being the most nominated author never to have won the Booker prize, having been nominated five times. In 2011, the Booker Prize Committee held a posthumous ‘Best of Beryl’ celebration, won by her novel Master Georgie, her novel set during the Crimean War.
There are loads of cracking good Bainbridge novels I’ve still to read, and I’d like to re-read some of the above too.
So – is there anyone for Beryl?
Who would like to join me in a week celebrating this brilliant British author?
We’re going to be celebrating all things British with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at the start of June, and London 2012 from the end of July. I’d like to tap into that and pick a week in between. How about Monday June 18th to Sunday June 24th.