Beryl Bainbridge

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Dame Beryl Margaret Bainbridge, DBE (21 November 1932 – 2 July 2010[1][2]) was an English novelist. Bainbridge won the Whitbread Awards prize for best novel in 1977 and 1996; she was nominated five times for the Booker Prize. She was described in 2007 as "a national treasure".[3] In 2008, The Times newspaper named Bainbridge among their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".[4]



Beryl Bainbridge was born in Liverpool and raised in nearby Formby. Her parents were Richard Bainbridge and Winifred Baines.[5] Although she gave her date of birth in Who's Who and elsewhere as 21 November 1934, she was actually born in 1932 and her birth was registered in the first quarter of 1933.[6] When German former prisoner of war Harry Arno Franz wrote to her in November 1947, he mentioned her 15th birthday.[7]

She enjoyed writing, and by the age of 10 she was keeping a diary.[7] She had elocution lessons and, when she was 11, appeared on the Northern Children's Hour radio show, alongside Billie Whitelaw and Judith Chalmers. Bainbridge was expelled from Merchant Taylors' Girls' School (Crosby) because she was caught with a "dirty rhyme" (as she later described it), written by someone else, in her gymslip pocket.[8] That summer, she fell in love with a former German POW who was waiting to be repatriated. For the next six years, the couple corresponded and tried to get permission for the German man to return to Britain so that they could be married. But permission was denied and the relationship ended in 1953.[7]

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