Elaine Feinstein was an English poet, novelist, short-story writer, playwright, biographer and translator.
Her first novel, The Circle (1970) is ‘a study of a marriage, mostly through the wife’s mind.’ Several novels concern her Jewish roots: The Survivors (1982), spans the generations before and after the Holocaust, while The Border (1984) tells of an old woman in Sydney and her ‘painful, mysterious… escape from Vienna with her husband in 1939’. Feinstein travelled extensively, to read her work at festivals, and as Writer in Residence for the British Council, first in Singapore, and then in Tromsø, Norway. She was a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at Bellagio in 1998. Her Collected Poems and Translations (2002) was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation, and she was appointed to the Council of the Royal Society of Literature in 2007. She served as a judge for the Gregory Awards, the Independent Foreign Fiction Award, the Costa Poetry Prize and the Rossica Award for Literature translated from Russian. In 1995 she was chairman of the judges for the T. S. Eliot Prize. Feinstein participated in the 22nd Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in November 2010 and continued to give readings in various countries. Asked in an interview what three books she would save if her house were on fire, she had replied, ‘I’d take my iPad.’