Fay Weldon, the prolific novelist and playwright known for her 1983 novel, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, has died at 91, the New York Times reports.
Weldon, a native of Birmingham, England, came from a literary family; her mother was a novelist, as were an uncle and a grandfather. She worked in advertising before making her literary debut in 1967 with the novel The Fat Woman’s Joke. Four years after that, she wrote the pilot episode of Upstairs, Downstairs, the acclaimed British television series.
Weldon went on to write dozens of novels, including Words of Advice, Puffball, The Hearts and Lives of Men, Life Force, Trouble, and Splitting. But she remains best known for The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, about a woman who exacts revenge on her estranged husband and his new lover.
The novel formed the basis for a 1986 BBC series starring Dennis Waterman and Patricia Hodge, as well as a 1989 film, She-Devil, with Roseanne Barr, Meryl Streep, and Ed Begley Jr. Streep was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role.
Admirers of Weldon paid tribute to her on social media. On Twitter, author Kate Mosse wrote, “Fay Weldon was brilliant, lovely, kind to other writers, funny, mischievous, as Granny Rosie would put it ‘a real one-off’, a towering figure in the world of books. FW, we salute you!”
And journalist Patrick Strudwick tweeted, “So very sad to hear of the death of Fay Weldon. So many of her books are burned into my mind, from reading them as a teenager. Praxis and the Life and Loves of a She-Devil in particular. What an incredible writer—and an incredible loss.”
So very sad to hear of the death of Fay Weldon. So many of her books are burned into my mind, from reading them as a teenager. Praxis and the Life and Loves of a She-Devil in particular. What an incredible writer - and an incredible loss.— Patrick Strudwick (@PatrickStrud) January 4, 2023
Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.