Fay Weldon




For a detailed and fascinating description of her life, read Fay's autobiography:
Auto da Fay.

Brief Bio:

Fay Weldon was supposed to be born in New Zealand, but instead was born in England in 1931. At 5 weeks old she and her mother returned to New Zealand.

Her father was a doctor and her mother was a writer of commercial fiction under the pen name "Pearl Bellairs", among others. Her parents divorced when she was five. She lived with her mother, sister and grandmother until she started college and, as a result, grew up believing "the world was peopled by females."

She returned to England with her mother and studied economics and psychology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

Her actual christened name was "Franklin Birkinshaw" (something to do with her mother's interest in numerology) which she feels contributed to her being accepted at St Andrews and permitted to study economics: the school assumed she was a male student applicant. (Sounds very much like a Fay Weldon novel, doesn't it?)

In her early twenties she was briefly married to a man more than twenty years her senior. It is not clear whether she had her first son during this marriage or earlier.

Raising her son as a single mother, she looks back on her twenties as times fraught with "odd jobs and hard times." She worked on the problem page of the Daily Mirror and then as a copywriter for the Foreign Office. She then embarked on an extremely successful career as an advertising copywriter becoming famous for her slogan 'Go to work on an egg'.

"Advertising was the only thing I could do in order to earn a decent enough living. . . I did it for about eight years."

She married Roy Weldon in 1962 and had three more sons. She then went through a mid-life crisis: "I was thirty, inadequate and depressed and ignorant, and knew it." She went through psychoanalysis, which gave her the self-knowledge and courage to give up advertising and start writing. Her first novel, The Fat Woman's Joke, was published in 1967, but by then she had already written some fifty plays for radio, stage, or television, the most well-known being Upstairs, Downstairs and her adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

For the next 30 years she built a wonderfully 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. She and Ron divided their time between bucolic splendour in Somerset and a flat in London. Eventually they did divorce in 1994.

Fay subsequently married Nick Fox, a poet, and her writing and career continues to flourish.

In October 2002 Fay was named the first writer-in-residence at The Savoy Hotel in London.

In 2006 Weldon was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University, London.

Fay and her husband Nick live in Dorset, England.

Also see Wikipedia