novelist, dramatist, and television screenwriter, born in Worcester and educated at the University of St Andrews. Her novels express the rising feminist consciousness of the 1970s and deal, frequently in tragi‐comic vein, with women's troubled relationships with parents, men, and children and with one another; these include The Fat Woman's Joke (1967), Down Among the Women (1971), Praxis (1978), Puffball (1980), The Life and Loves of a She‐Devil (1983), The Hearts and Lives of Men (1987), The Cloning of Joanna May (1989), Growing Rich (1992), Life Force (1992), Natural Love (1993), Affliction (1993), The Bulgari Connection (2001), and Mantrapped (2004). Big Women (1997) is a sharply observed account of a group of women who found a feminist publishing company. Her gift for realistic dialogue is manifested both in her fiction and in her many plays and free adaptations (notably of Austen) for television, and she has also been a pioneer in her bold address of many contemporary issues. Auto Da Fay (2002) is a memoir.