Beryl Bainbridge: Artist, Writer, Friend; Psiche Hughes

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This book is a highly personal, chronological account of Beryl’s life and work – both her writing and her painting – and provides a vivid first-hand portrait of this free-spirited and uniquely talented woman. Beryl Bainbridge is best known as a prolific writer of novels that ranged from black comedies of contemporary life, often autobiographical in inspiration, to idiosyncratic reimaginings of historical events and characters. Less well known is that painting and drawing were also lifelong passions, and a source of income too in the days before her success as a writer. Most of all she painted people – friends, lovers, her children, invented characters, characters from her novels, or historical figures (she had a particular fascination for Napoleon). She had no formal training, but developed an exuberance of technique to match her imagination. The paintings, as one of her many friends observes, are like Beryl herself: ‘irreverent, funny and highly original.’ Psiche Hughes was a close friend of Beryl Bainbridge from the early 1960s to the latter’s death in 2010.

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