Elizabeth Jane Howard was at the centre of a major Booker Prize controversy when her advocacy as a judge helped Ending Up by her husband, Kingsley Amis, on to the shortlist.
The chair of judges Ion Trewin said that ‘On literary grounds neither of us (Trewin and A.S. Byatt) had problems about shortlisting it.’ Perhaps luckily, it didn’t go on to win. Howard, who died in 2014, was a striking woman who was initially a model and actress before becoming a novelist of distinction. Although she wrote her first work in 1950, it wasn’t until she was in her seventies, when she embarked on the autobiographical The Cazalet Chronicles, that she found wide popularity. Her stepson Martin Amis cited her encouragement as inspirational in his own career.