Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen
Fay Weldon, born 1931, is a British novelist, short story writer, playwright, and essayist whose work has been associated with feminism. In her fiction, Weldon typically portrays contemporary women who find themselves trapped in oppressive situations caused by the patriarchal structure of Western, in particular British, society.
Weldon was born in England to a literary family, with both her maternal grandfather, and her own mother Margaret writing novels. Weldon spent the first years of her life in New Zealand, where her father worked as a doctor, but at the age of 14, after her parents’ divorce, moved to England with her mother and her sister Jane, never to see her father again.
Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen - 1985
She went to St Andrews, Scotland to study psychology and economics but moved to London after giving birth to a child. Soon afterwards she married Ronald Bateman, a teacher 20 years her senior and started to live in London. The couple got a divorce after only two years. To support herself and her son, who was now going to school, Weldon started working in the advertising industry.
The Fat Woman′s Joke
At 29 she met Ronald Weldon, an antiques dealer. They married and produced three more sons. Weldon began writing for radio and television. In 1967, she published her first novel, The Fat Woman’s Joke.
For the next 30 years she built a very successful career, publishing over 20 novels, collections of short stories, television movies, newspaper and magazine articles and becoming a well-known face and voice on the BBC.
Pride and Prejudice
In 1980 she wrote the script for the BBC miniseries adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In 1994, Ronald and Fay Weldon divorced. She subsequently married Nick Fox, a poet, with whom she currently lives in London. In 2000, the previously atheist Fay Weldon became a member of the Church of England and was confirmed in St Paul’s Cathedral, which was perhaps appropriate because she states that she likes to think that she was “converted by St Paul”.
Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University
In 2006 Fay Weldon was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University, West London: “A great writer needs a certain personality and a natural talent for language, but there is a great deal that can be taught – how to put words together quickly and efficiently to make a point, how to be graceful and eloquent, how to convey emotion, how to build up tension, and how to create alternative worlds.”