- Existence: 1939-
Margaret Drabble was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, on June 5, 1939. She read English at Newnham College, Cambridge and, after leaving college, joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960, where she understudied for Vanessa Redgrave. However, she left the RSC after only a few years, to pursue a career as a novelist. Her first novel, A Summer Bird Cage, was published in 1963. Drabble would go on to publish a number of acclaimed novels, including, among others, The Millstone (winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize, 1965), Jersualem the Golden (winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, 1967), The Needle's Eye (1972), The Realms of Gold (1975), The Middle Ground (1980), The Gates of Ivory (1991), and The Witch of Exmoor (1996). In addition to her works of fiction, Drabble is a notable literary scholar, who has edited several volumes (such as The Oxford Companion to English Literature, 1985 and 2000), produced works on Wordsworth and Hardy, to name a few subjects, and written full-length studies of novelists Angus Wilson and Arnold Bennett. She has also written numerous plays, short stories, and screenplays. Drabble married her second husband, the writer Michael Holdroyd, in 1982. She was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1980, and in 2008 was promoted to Dame Commander of the British Empire, for services to literature.
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