Posted on 01/24/2019 at 02:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Diana Athill, celebrated for her writing and editing work, has died at the age of 101.

Throughout her fifty-year career in publishing, Athill worked with such writers as Philip Roth, Margaret Atwood, Jean Rhys, VS Naipaul, and John Updike.

At times she downplayed her contributions, saying that works that couldn’t be published as-is wouldn’t be accepted in the first place, but she also spoke fondly about the less-polished novels she had a chance to improve.

Athill’s way with words extended to how she deployed her own.

In the late 1950s, she won a short-story competition in the Observer and followed up with a highly praised memoir of an ill-fated love affair in 1962.

But for the next few decades, writing took a back seat to her editing role, with only two memoirs about relationships coming out.

Once Athill retired, however, she picked the pen back up as if it had never been set down.

In 2000 came her memoir about publishing, Stet, and one on her childhood (Yesterday Morning) a few years later.

Perhaps her crowning achievement, though, was Somewhere Towards the End, a reflection on mortality that won the 2008 Costa Prize for biography.

Read more about Athill's remarkable life in the Guardian.

Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: Obituary, The Guardian

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