British author Fay Weldon, best known for “The Life and Loves of a She-Devil” and “The Cloning of Joanna May,” has died. She was 91.
Weldon’s agent tweeted a family statement on Wednesday. “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Fay Weldon (CBE), author, essayist and playwright. She died peacefully this morning 4th January 2023.” A cause of death was not revealed.
Weldon’s works were adapted numerous times for the screen. “The Life and Loves of a She-Devil” (1983), where a woman who loses her husband to a romance novelist goes to extreme lengths to make their lives a misery, was adapted both as a multiple BAFTA-winning BBC series of the same name in 1986 and as “She-Devil” (1989) a Golden Globe-nominated film by Susan Seidelman, starring Meryl Streep and Roseanne Barr.
Another popular Weldon adaptation was of science fiction novel “The Cloning of Joanna May” (1989) that was adapted as a series by Granada Television in 1992, starring Patricia Hodge and Brian Cox. Weldon also wrote episodes of iconic class divide sitcom “Upstairs, Downstairs,” including the pilot for which she won the Writers’ Guild Award for best TV script.
Her first novel, “The Fat Woman’s Joke,” was published in 1967 and she was shortlisted for the Booker and Whitbread literature prizes for her novels “Praxis”(1979) and “Worst Fears” (1996), respectively.
In all, Weldon wrote some 30 novels and several pieces for television. She won the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize for “The Heart of the Country” (1989), the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award (1996) for “Wicked Women” and in 2001 was accorded Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).
In tribute the Booker Prize handle tweeted: “We are saddened to hear that the brilliant Fay Weldon has died. As well as being shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1979, she was a judge in 1983 and delivered one of the most memorable speeches in Booker history. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”