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Fay Weldon Biography

(1933– ), The Fat Woman's Joke, Down among the Women, Female Friends, Remember Me, Praxis

British novelist, dramatist, and television screenwriter, born in Alvechurch, Worcestershire, educated at the University of St Andrews. She began her career as a copywriter in an advertising agency and wrote several plays for radio and television. Her novels, which frequently deal with aspects of women's experience, including the demands made upon them by marriage and motherhood and the unreasonable expectations of men, established her as a spokeswoman for the emerging feminist movement. Her first novel, The Fat Woman's Joke (1967), originally written for television, displays a sardonic wit which characterizes her work. Down among the Women (1971), which casts a satirical eye on a group of women friends, their marriages, and love affairs, was followed by a number of others with a similar theme, including Female Friends (1975) and Remember Me (1976). Praxis (1978) was a more sombre work, following the career of its central character from her childhood through to her final apotheosis as a feminist heroine. Puffball (1980) dealt with themes of witchcraft and the supernatural touched on elsewhere in the author's work, as well as the often devastating effects of pregnancy and child-rearing on women's lives. The Lives and Loves of a She-Devil (1983) is a fable about female power and powerlessness, telling the story of Ruth, an ugly woman married to a philandering man, who transforms herself by sheer strength of will into the image of her hated rival; this and The Heart of the Country (1987), about the horrors of a loveless marriage, were made into films for television. Other novels include The Hearts and Lives of Men (1987), Leader of the Band (1988), Darcy's Utopia (1990), Growing Rich (1992), Life Force (1992), Affliction (1993), and Splitting (1995), a triumphant comedy in which a divorced wife with several personalities enables Weldon to explore the many roles women play. She has published two collections of short stories: Moon over Minneapolis (1991) and Wicked Women (1995). Angel, All Innocence (1995) is a selection of her shorter fiction, compiled by Giles Gordon.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Robert Penn Warren Biography to Kenneth White Biography