Anita Brookner

Anita Brookner

Booker Prize winning author and art historian Anita Brookner, whose Jewish upbringing in London informed much of her writing, has died aged 87.

The author of Hotel du Lac beat JG Ballard in 1984 to scoop the literary world’s foremost prize for her novel about the loveless Edith Hope, who “finds herself sequestered at the hotel with an assortment of love’s casualties and exiles”.

Brookner was born to an immigrant family from Poland, and grew up in Herne Hill. She went on to write 24 books, many examining “middle class loneliness,” and taught art history at the University of Cambridge where, in 1967, she became the first woman to be named as Slade professor of art.

This week her publisher said Brookner “had such a highly developed sense of what was morally right… If you were with her you felt that you had to behave a whole lot better, but she was also very, very funny and very self-deprecating.”

Among her admirers were Hilary Mantel and Orange Prize-winning novelist Linda Grant, who twetted: “Always felt an affinity with Anita Brookner, her nervous Jews in overheated overfurnished flats in St John’s Wood.”