Bernice Rubens became the first woman (and to date the only Welsh novelist) to win the Booker Prize when she triumphed in its second year, 1970, with The Elected Member.

Rubens, who died in 2004, never claimed that writing was her obsession: ‘I don’t love writing. But I love having written.’ Nevertheless, having first been a teacher and a documentary maker, she went on to publish more than 20 novels and one work of non-fiction, her autobiography, When I Grow Up (2005). Her fiction took as its main themes family life and Jewishness and she believed, in a no-nonsense way, that her writing was simply: ‘Better than most, not as good as some.’ The assessment proved prescient when she was Booker Prize-shortlisted in 1978, this time unvictoriously. 

Bernice Rubens

Other nominated books

A Five-Year Sentence