‘She was a soldier for clarity and precision’: Renowned Norfolk author, Diana Athill dies aged 101
PUBLISHED: 11:13 24 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:45 24 January 2019
Tributes have flooded in following the death of renowned Norfolk author Diana Athill, who died after a short illness at the age of 101 last night.
The writer and editor grew up in Ditchingham and published eight memoirs. Her book Somewhere Towards The End, won the Costa Biography Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Publisher Granta said in a statement: “Granta is terribly sad to announce the death of Diana Athill last night following a short illness. She was 101.”
Sigrid Rausing. Granta publisher said: “Writers are sometimes startlingly different from their writing, offering a front to the world either through their personas or their words, or perhaps a combination of both. Diana’s work, by contrast, was somehow exactly like herself: formidable, truthful, often amusing.
“She was a soldier for clarity and precision, a clever and competent young woman brought by a combination of forces to a heady mix of London publishing and post-war love.”
Book retailer Waterstones tweeted: “We’re very sad to hear of the death of Diana Athill, a phenomenal author in her own right, who also worked alongside great writers like @MargaretAtwood, Philip Roth, Jean Rhys and John Updike as an editor and publisher.”
Singer and actor Gary Kemp tweeted: “I loved her book ‘Somewhere Near the End’ which she wrote at 91, about dealing with age and imminent death. She lived another 11 years after that in sharp intellectual wit and insight. Sad to see her leave.”
Author Linda Grant tweeted: “Sad to hear of the death of Diana Athill. A good life, lived very well. She was very funny about the fragile egos of authors.”
Diana grew up in Norfolk, reading, riding ponies, running around her grandparents’ country estate, going to the seaside.
Aged 94, the writer said: ”I think Norfolk will always be “home”, although by now I’ve lived in London longer than I did there.
“We often went to Southwold and other seaside places, but that was part of being at home! We thought of “Holidays” as going further afield,” she said.
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