Bernice Rubens was born in Cardiff. Her fourth novel, The Elected Member, won the 1970 Booker Prize.
Rubens read English at the University of Wales, whcih awarded her an honorary doctorate in 1991. Her early novels include the comedy Set on Edge (1960); Madame Sousatzka (1962) and Mate in Three (1966). A Five-Year Sentence (1978) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
As well as being a successful novelist, Rubens was a freelance film director and scriptwriter, producing documentaries for organisations such as the United Nations. In 1968 she was awarded the American Blue Ribbon award for the documentary Stress.