Writers

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Elizabeth Bowen

1899-1973

Elizabeth Bowen, CBE (1899 – 1973) was a British and Anglo-Irish novelist and short story writer, notable for her fiction about life in wartime London. Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen was born in Dublin into the Anglo-Irish gentry. Her father, Henry Charles Cole Bowen, was a lawyer who had a breakdown when Elizabeth was six, and her mother, Florence Isabella Pomeroy, died of cancer five years later. From then Elizabeth’s life was organised by her aunts. Elizabeth began writing short stories when she was 20 and her first collection, Encounters, was published in 1923. She went on to write 10 novels in addition to nearly 80 short stories and was well known in her time. In recognition of her contribution to literature, Elizabeth Bowen received honorary Doctorates from Trinity College, Dublin (1949) and the University of Oxford (1956). She was also a judge for the 1972 Man Booker Prize (which went to John Berger).