novelist, born in Sheffield, educated at Newnham College, Cambridge. Her early novels deal primarily with the dilemma of educated young women caught in the conflicting claims of maternity, sexuality, and intellectual and economic aspiration. A Summer Birdcage (1963) was followed by The Garrick Year (1964), The Millstone (1966), Jerusalem the Golden (1968), The Waterfall (1969), The Needle's Eye (1972), The Realms of Gold (1975), The Ice Age (1977), and The Middle Ground (1980). She produced a trilogy of novels—The Radiant Way (1987), A Natural Curiosity (1989), and The Gates of Ivory (1991)—which follows the fortunes of three women friends through the social and political changes in Britain in the 1980s. Her later novels have a broader canvas, a more ironic relationship with traditional narration, and a wider interest in documenting social change. Recent novels include The Witch of Exmoor (1996), a mordant family chronicle inspired by a premise borrowed from John Rawls; The Peppered Moth (2001), a four‐generation family saga; The Seven Sisters (2002); The Red Queen (2004), a transcultural tragi‐comedy set partly in 18th‐cent. Korea; and The Sea Lady (2006), which dwells on evolution and reconciliation. Her other works include A Writer's Britain (1979) and a biography of Angus Wilson (1995). A. S. Byatt is her sister, and she is married to M. Holroyd.