Lockwood on A.S. Byatt's Possession
Patricia Lockwood chooses A.S. Byatt’s Possession, a much-loved book that gave Lockwood ‘permission’ to pursue her literary passion: ‘it was not a waste of time, not a waste of life, to read’.
A.S. Byatt won the Booker Prize in 1990 with Possession and was shortlisted in 2009 with The Children’s Book. Writing, she says, ‘is simply the most important thing in my life’.
Antonia Byatt published her first novel in 1964 and, apart from an interlude as an academic, has been writing them - and short stories, essays and critical appreciations - ever since. Although she is known for her high intellectualism, on winning the Booker Prize in 1990, she famously declared - with perhaps a hint of a josh - that she would spend the winnings on a swimming pool for her house in France. Byatt says that writing is about ‘pleasure’ but it is a pleasure she takes seriously: ‘I, who I am, is the person that has the project of making a thing.’