It’s the birthday of Iris Murdoch (books by this author), born in Dublin (1919). She studied at Oxford and was deeply influenced by a two-year stint teaching war refugees for the United Nations. She wrote all of her novels in longhand, twice, then delivered the manuscripts to her publisher in a plastic bag. And she never allowed her books to be edited. Among her novels are The Sea, the Sea (1978), which won the Booker Prize, and The Good Apprentice (1985).

In the 1990s, she wrote her final novel — a psychological thriller called Jackson’s Dilemma(1995) — during her early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Murdoch’s husband of 44 years, John Bayley, wrote a memoir about the progression of her illness called Elegy for Iris (1999), which was later made into a film starring Judi Dench.

Murdoch said: “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one’s luck.”




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