Fay Weldon dead: who was Life and Loves of a She Devil author, which books did she write - and cause of death

The novelists and playwright, known for her popular works such as Life and Loves of a She-Devil, has died at the age of 91

Author Fey Weldon has died aged 91. (Credit: PA)Author Fey Weldon has died aged 91. (Credit: PA)
Author Fey Weldon has died aged 91. (Credit: PA)

Beloved author Fey Weldon has died at the age of 91. The novelist and playwright passed away after she updated fans on her website, telling them that she has been hospitalised.

Fey was well-known for her works including The Life and Loves Of A She-Devil and Praxis. Her prolific career saw her write across a range of genres, including children’s books and nonfiction works.

Her death has garnered tributes from across the literary world. This includes the Booker Prize Award sharing its condolences, after Fey “delivered one of the most memorable speeches in Booker history” as a judge in 1983.

Her death at the age of 91 was confirmed by her family. In a statement, the Weldon family said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Fay Weldon (CBE), author, essayist and playwright. She died peacefully this morning January 4, 2023.”

But who was the famous author - and what were some of her most famous works? Here’s everything you need to know about Fey Weldon.

Who was Fey Weldon?

Fey Weldon was born in September 1931 in the UK. As a youngster, she moved to New Zealand before moving back to Britain.

As a student, she studied economics and psychology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. In the years following her university days, she worked at the Foreign Office, as a journalist and as an advertising copywriter.

She moved on to pursue a career in writing. She published her first novel - The Fat Woman’s Joke - in 1967.

Throughout her long career, the author released nonfiction works, children’s books and novels focusing on women’s relationships. Fey also wrote for the popular series Upstairs, Downstairs during its run between 1971 and 1975 and also won a Writer’s Guild of America award for the show’s first episode.

Fey was also honoured by the former Queen for her works. During the 2001 New Years’ Honours, she was made a CBE for her services to literature.

Fey also served as a professor in creative writing at Bath Spa University. She stood down from the role in 2021.

Which books did Fey Weldon write?

One of her most famous works is The Life and Loves Of A She-Devil, released in 1983. The book centres on a woman who takes revenge against her adulterous husband.

Pirot to this, Fey wrote novels including Down Among The Women in 1971, and Female Friends in 1974. She was nominated in 1978 for a Booker Prize for Fiction for her novel Praxis.

Later in her career, she authored a memoir titled Auto Da Fey in 2002. Over the course of her time as an author, Fey wrote more than 30 novels among her other works including short stories and screenplays.

How did Fey Weldon die?

The cause of death for Fey, 91, has not been confirmed by her family. The last communication the author had with her fans was on her website in late 2020, in which she updated them about her health.

In a short statement, Fey said: “I’ve been out of touch for a long time, for which, my apologies. I have been hospitalised for much of the last year, first with a broken bone in my back and then with a stroke, therefore my silence.”

Many have shared their condolences following Fey’s passing. Chocolat author Joanne Harris tweeted: “RIP Fay Weldon: what a loss, and what a remarkable woman.”

The Rev Richard Coles shared on Twitter his memories of taking her Holy Communion, saying: “So sorry to see news of the death of #FayWeldon.

“I started out as an admirer of her fiction and I ended up taking her Holy Communion. She was amazing. May she rest in peace.”

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