Beryl Bainbridge

Dame Beryl Margaret Bainbridge, DBE ( born November 21, 1934 in Liverpool, † July 2, 2010 in London) was a British writer and actress. Wide notoriety she gained through her historical novels.

Life and work

Bainbridge grew up near Liverpool in the working-class milieu. Even as a child she had before becoming a writer, and was encouraged by her parents - her father taught her the work of Charles Dickens close to her mother in the theater. At the age of six, she first appeared in public as a tap dancer, and then received a ballet training, with fifteen she made her first as an actress in a theater group. In 1954 she married the painter Austin Davies, with whom she had three children. In 1959 the marriage was dissolved again; at this time Bainbridge began to write.

After training at the Merchant Taylors' School in Liverpool, she worked as an actress at the Liverpool Repertory Theatre. Although she wrote her first novel, Harriet Said, already in the 1950s, this was not printed until 1972. From Queen Elizabeth II in 2000, she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and thus elevated to the peerage. She lived most recently in northern London, where she died after a brief cancer in 2010.

Bainbridge's novels are often located in Liverpool the postwar period and treat fates of working families. Some of them are autobiographical. In contrast, approximately Young Adolf treats a fictional visit of the young Hitler with his brother in Liverpool in 1910; Watson's Apology plays in 1872 and describes the final years of a retired school principal who has killed his wife. Critics praised especially Bainbridge figure characterizations and their comedy. In addition to novels, she also wrote short stories and non-fiction. In the German speaking their works never gained the same popularity as in the UK.


  • WH Smith Literary Award in 1999 for Master Georgie
  • Whitbread Book Award for Best Novel (1977, 1996)
  • Five nominations for the Booker Prize ( shortlisted )


  • Young Adolf, German by Alexander Schmitz; Zurich: Diogenes, 1979 ISBN 3-257-01590-9.
  • An Awfully Big Adventure, dt of Wolf Dietrich Müller; Dusseldorf: ECON 1995, ISBN 3-612-27203-9.
  • Night light, dt Charlotte Breuer; Munich, Vienna: Europe 1997, ISBN 3-203-75503-3.
  • Master Georgie, dt Charlotte Breuer; Munich, Vienna: Europe 1999, ISBN 3-203-75506-8.