Elizabeth Jane Howard
Elizabeth Jane Howard(26 March 1923 – 2 January 2014), was an English novelist, author of 12 novels including the best-selling series The Cazalet Chronicles.
Howard's parents were timber-merchant Major. David Liddon Howard MC (1896–1958), son of timber-merchant Alexander Liddon Howard (1863-1946), and Katharine Margaret ('Kit') Somervell (1895–1975), a dancer with Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and daughter of the composer Sir Arthur Somervell. (One of her brothers, Colin, lived with her and her third husband, Kingsley Amis, for 17 years.) Mostly educated at home, she briefly attended Francis Holland School before attending domestic-science college at Ebury Street and secretarial college in central London.
Howard worked briefly as an actress in provincial repertory and occasionally as a model before her writing career, which began in 1947.
The Beautiful Visit (1950), Howard's first novel, was described as "distinctive, self-assured and remarkably sensual", won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1951 for best novel by a writer under 30. She next collaborated with Robert Aickman, writing three of the six short stories in the collection We Are for the Dark (1951).
Her second novel, The Long View (1956), describes a marriage in reverse chronology; Angela Lambert remarked, "Why The Long View isn't recognised as one of the great novels of the 20th century I will never know." Five further novels followed before she embarked on her best known work, the Cazalet Chronicles, at the suggestion of her stepson Martin Amis.
The Chronicles were a family saga "about the ways in which English life changed during the war years, particularly for women." They follow three generations of a middle-class English family and draw heavily on Howard's own life and memories. The first four volumes, The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion, and Casting Off, were published from 1990 to 1995. The fifth, All Change, was written in just a year and published in 2013; it was her final novel. Millions of copies of the Cazalet Chronicles were sold worldwide.
She also wrote a book of short stories, Mr. Wrong (1975), and edited two anthologies, including The Lover's Companion (1978).
Autobiography and biographies
Howard's autobiography, Slipstream, was published in 2002. A biography, entitled Elizabeth Jane Howard: A Dangerous Innocence by Artemis Cooper, was published by John Murray in 2017. A reviewer said it was "strongest in the case it makes for the virtues of Howard's fiction".
Howard married Peter Scott in 1942, at age 19, and they had a daughter, Nicola (born 1943). Howard left Scott in 1946 to become a writer, and they were divorced in 1951. At this time she was employed as part-time secretary to the pioneering canals conservation organisation the Inland Waterways Association, where she met and collaborated with Robert Aickman. She had an affair with Aickman, described in her autobiography Slipstream (2002).
Her second marriage, to Australian broadcaster Jim Douglas-Henry in 1958, was brief. Her third marriage, to novelist Kingsley Amis, whom she met while organising the Cheltenham Literary Festival, lasted from 1965 to 1983; for part of that time, 1968–1976, they lived at Lemmons, a Georgian house in Barnet, where Howard wrote Something in Disguise (1969). Her stepson, Martin Amis, has credited her with encouraging him to become a more serious reader and writer.
- The Beautiful Visit. Jonathan Cape. 1950. ISBN 978-0-224-60977-7. Winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize
- We Are for the Dark: Six Ghost Stories. Jonathan Cape. 1951. (a collection containing three stories by Howard and three by Robert Aickman)
- The Long View. Jonathan Cape. 1956. ISBN 978-0-224-60318-8.
- The Sea Change. Jonathan Cape. 1959. ISBN 978-0-224-60319-5.
- After Julius. Jonathan Cape. 1965. ISBN 978-0-224-61037-7.
- Something in Disguise. Jonathan Cape. 1969. ISBN 978-0-224-61744-4.
- Odd Girl Out. Jonathan Cape. 1972. ISBN 978-0-224-00661-3.
- Mr. Wrong. Jonathan Cape. 1975.
- Getting It Right. Hamish Hamilton. 1982. ISBN 978-0-241-10805-5.
- The Light Years. Macmillan Publishers. 1990. ISBN 978-0-333-53875-3.
- Marking Time. Macmillan. 1991. ISBN 978-0-333-56596-4.
- Confusion. Macmillan. 1993. ISBN 978-0-333-57582-6.
- Casting Off. Macmillan. 1995. ISBN 978-0-333-60757-2.
- Falling. Macmillan. 1999. ISBN 978-0-333-73020-1.
- Slipstream. Macmillan. 2002. ISBN 978-0-333-90349-0.
- Three Miles Up and Other Strange Stories. 2003. ISBN 978-1-872621-75-3. (contains the three stories included in We Are for the Dark, plus Mr Wrong)
- Love All. Macmillan. 2008. ISBN 978-1-4050-4161-4.
- All Change. Macmillan. 2013. ISBN 978-0230743076.
- Elizabeth Jane Howard: Overview, Orlando (website), Cambridge University Press, accessed 1 November 2010, archived by WebCite on 31 October 2010.
- "Elizabeth Jane Howard", BBC Radio 4, 29 October 2002, accessed 1 November 2010.
- Millard, Rosie. "The beauty and the psycho", The Times, 12 October 2008, accessed 1 November 2010.