Dame Antonia Byatt’s publisher announced her death at the age of 87 on Friday, November 17.

She died “peacefully at home surrounded by close family” on Thursday but who was she and what was she known for?

Dame Antonia Byatt was known as AS Byatt and she won the 1990 Booker Prize for her romance novel Possession.

Here’s what we know about her career in literature.

Brent & Kilburn Times: AS Byatt wrote 23 books including The Children's Book and PossessionAS Byatt wrote 23 books including The Children's Book and Possession (Image: Ian West/PA)

Who was Dame Antonia Byatt (AS Byatt)?

AS Byatt was an author and won several awards for her work.

Dame Antonia was originally from Sheffield and was born on August 24, 1936.

She was taught at a Quaker school and was later mentored by novelist Iris Murdoch.

Dame Antonia lived in Putney with her husband, Peter Duffy, and she was made a CBE in 1990 and a DBE in 1999 for services to literature.

What books did Dame Antonia Byatt (AS Byatt) write?

According to her publisher, Dame Antonia’s first novel The Shadow Of The Sun was published in 1964 and she went on to write 23 books along with works of criticism.

Other highlights include The Frederica Quartet series which included The Virgin In The Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman, and was adapted by BBC Radio 4.

Possession, a time-jumping tale, tells the story of the love between two Victorian poets that is uncovered by scholars in the modern age.

The book was adapted for a 2002 romance mystery movie of the same name starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, Toby Stephens and Tom Hollander.

The Children’s Book was another success and saw Dame Antonia shortlisted for the Booker Prize and become a winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 2009.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Gwyneth Paltrow starred in an adaptation of AS Byatt's novel PossessionGwyneth Paltrow starred in an adaptation of AS Byatt's novel Possession (Image: Ian West/PA)

In 2021, she published Medusa’s Ankles: Selected Stories – her most recent publication.

In 2014, Dame Antonia had a beetle named after her following a coleopterist reading her novella Morpho Eugenia from Angels And Insects.

The story was adapted into a 1990s romance film called Angels And Insects, about a naturalist, with Sir Mark Rylance, Patsy Kensit and Dame Kristin Scott Thomas among the cast.

Dame Antonia received the Erasmus Prize in 2016, receiving a cash prize of 150,000 euros (£131,346).

The award is given to “a person or institution that has made an exceptional contribution to the humanities, the social sciences or the arts, in Europe and beyond”.

Last year, her 1995 short story The Djinn In The Nightingale’s Eye inspired a fantasy drama film directed and co-written by Mad Max creator George Miller.

Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton starred opposite each other in 2022’s Three Thousand Years Of Longing which features a conversation between a genie and an academic in a hotel room in Istanbul.

AS Byatt had 'remarkable' talent and 'held readers spellbound'

Clara Farmer, her publisher at Chatto & Windus, an imprint of Penguin Random House, said: “Antonia’s books are the most wonderful jewel boxes of stories and ideas.

“Her compulsion to write (A4 blue notebook always to hand) and her ability to create intricate skeins of narrative was remarkable. It was always a treat to see her, to hear updates about her evolving literary characters and indulge in delicious titbits of literary gossip.

“Like all Chatto’s publishers before me, I was devoted to her and her writing.

“2024 would have been her 60th (Diamond) anniversary as a Chatto author. We mourn her loss but it’s a comfort to know that her penetrating works will dazzle, shine and refract in the minds of readers for generations to come.”

Zoe Waldie, her literary agent at agency RCW, said she “held readers spellbound” and called her writing “multi-layered, endlessly varied and deeply intellectual, threaded through with myths and metaphysics”.

She added: “Her formidable erudition and passion for language were combined with a love of scholarship and an astonishing memory, forged learning poetry and rules for spelling and grammar by heart as a child.”

Ms Waldie also said: “She was interested in so many things; phone calls with her about work were never routine, nor brief, and would reliably and joyfully digress to the topic of a painter or new exhibition, or to a European writer she’d just discovered, or to how the brain works, or to the tennis on television, or travel …

“She was a committed Europhile and relished getting to know her many foreign publishers and translators, on the continent and beyond.

“She was avidly interested in new writing and delighted in championing upcoming authors. We are heartbroken to have lost her, and our thoughts are with her family.”