Obituary: Colorful author who was married three times praised for her wart-filled portraits of ill-treated women

Fay Weldon, died aged 91, came to England from New Zealand at the age of 12, gave birth at the age of 20, married a principal 25 years older than her to pay rent (first of three marriages) ) and went on to author about two dozen intelligent, humorous political novels.

eldon captured the feminist spirit of her day in 1967 with the publication of her first book, The joke of the fat lady, a dark satirical comic about society’s obsession with women’s weight and beauty. A couple’s dietary decision ruined their marriage when the husband, deprived of his favorite meals, began an affair with his secretary. The narrator’s wife, realizing that her whole life was dedicated to providing home comforts is nothing, moves out and proudly reasserts her right to roam and spend. waste as much as you like. Infused with Weldon’s keen intelligence and conversational skills, the book is considered a poignant critique of marriage and consumer society.

Weldon has discovered numerous fake women who are spectacularly avenging their kitchen existence on selfish, unsatisfied men, and she made a name for herself in 1986 with a play that used to be. won the BBC Award for her 1983 novel. The life and love of a girl-demonin which an ugly wife plots revenge against her husband’s infidelity is carefully planned.

Though she’s been hailed as a pro-feminist writer, Fay Weldon’s heroines don’t conform to any idealistic, struggling stereotype. She understands people don’t live politically correct lives; that they are jealous, depressed and vengeful and go with the wrong person for the wrong reasons. Her women can be oppressive, but they can also be vain, and prone to overeating, plastic surgery, divorce, death, children, money, therapy, and other things. other problem.​

What attracts Weldon’s readers is not her feminism, but the feeling that she’s on their side. Stories of how she wrote her first novels in pencil on the kitchen table while the children knelt at her feet made her a favorite subject of women’s magazines. The intellectual media also adored her for her outspoken views.

Serene, blonde, known for ambiguity, and blessed with what she calls a “voice like a rat,” Weldon is an uncanny blend of gentleness and assurance.

Writer Libby Purves recalls serving under her chair on the Booker jury in 1983 when, finding herself with the vote, Weldon took a leisurely half hour to make her decision while the other judges chastised. eyes looked at her “with the lustful attention of jackals beneath a tree”, only to change her mind as a result was called over.​

Too odd to fit comfortably into any mold, in the 1990s she spectacularly fouled up feminist sisterhood with a series of shocking statements that even a man followed. chauvinism can also be shocking. These include an interview with Radio Times in which she argues that rape is not the worst thing that can happen to a woman, and something else with Time out in which she states that male pedophilia “doesn’t have to be this terrible thing”.

In addition, she frankly admitted that she had plastic surgery, praised HRT and wrote a script for a TV series, big womanloosely based on the history of Virago, in which the founders of the famous feminist publishing house are presented as having only this side of sobriety.

Suddenly, she was seen as “the Winnie Mandela of feminism,” a heroine who had greatly disappointed the faction. Weldon published two volumes of memoirs, humorously titled Auto skin Fay (2002) and intoxicated (2004), chronicles a life so extraordinary that it makes her novels seem almost trivial.

The youngest of two daughters, she was born in Worcester on September 22, 1931, and christened Franklin Birkinshaw, her mother apparently under the impression that Franklin was a girl’s name. ; She later changed her name to Fay.

Her father is a doctor and her mother is an aspiring writer, the daughter of Edgar Jepson, a believer in Free Love and the occult, and the author of 73 popular novels, including Support Lady Noggs. Her parents’ marriage was turbulent, and before Weldon was born, they immigrated to New Zealand (she was born in England during several separations). When Weldon was five, they divorced.​

Despite growing up a humanist, Fay was sent to a Roman Catholic convent, where the nuns gave her a Victorian pamphlet called The Little Life of the Saints read. This details forensically the ingenious tortures that young female martyrs endured in bygone days to preserve their virginity, and Weldon recalls her fascination with some more gruesome details. In 1946, her mother brought her and her sister Jane back to England, where her mother began romances under the name Pearl Bellairs.​

At the age of 20, she got a job at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But a year into the work, she discovered she was pregnant with a folk singer, Colyn Davies, who by this time had broken up with her best friend. Weldon moved with his mother, sister (also pregnant) and a pregnant friend to a house full of beetles in Saffron Walden, Essex, where they opened a pastry shop.​

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After the birth of her first son Nick, who hated being a single mother, she married Ronald Bateman, a 51-year-old principal, “to pay the rent and to survive”. Bateman is extremely bizarre. He keeps his Masonic vestments under his bed and refuses to have sex with his new wife, instead offering to play the part of a pimp, which will be detailed later.​

For a time, with her husband’s encouragement, she provided sexual services to many men before balking at the prospect of outright prostitution. She left the marriage after two years.

Meanwhile, she fell in love with a copywriter who left his wife and children for her. But she moved to Ron Weldon, an antiques dealer. They married in 1963. She soon embarked on her first job as a novels librarian. Those are included miss me (1976) in which a dead divorced wife haunts her ex-husband’s second family, and balloonshortlisted for the 1980 Booker Prize, in which she explored the possibilities of genetic experimentation.

She has also written for stage and for TV and radio, including episodes of Upstairs, downstairs and the adaptation of Tess of D’Urbervilles and Proud and prejudice. Her marriage to Ron Weldon lasted 30 years and produced three sons. But in 1993, Ron met a New Age therapist, who told him he and Fay weren’t compatible astrologically. He threw her out of the house and brought in a therapist. In June 1994, the day after the divorce was finalized, he died of a stroke. Weldon will write two dark, humorous novels about it, affected and worst fear.

In 1994, Weldon married her third husband, Nick Fox, 15 years her junior, a bookseller and pianist who became her manager – the couple is said to have divorced last year. Weldon continued to rejoice and be indignant to almost equal measure. She was baptized into the Church of England at age 70 onwards desert island disk claims she is a psychic. “I always cover my nose and dance,” she said. “Common sense is the worst possible thing.” She is survived by three of her four sons.

Telegraph Communication Company Limited [2022] Obituary: Colorful author who was married three times praised for her wart-filled portraits of ill-treated women

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