Barbara Pym (1913 - 1980) - English, 1931

Barbara Pym was an English author. After working as an editor at the International African Institute in London, she wrote her first novel, Some Tame Gazelle (1950), as well as a number of social comedies including Excellent Women (1952) and A Glass of Blessings (1958). However, between 1966 and 1977 she was unable to secure a publishing deal, with many convinced that her writing was too old-fashioned.

In 1977 she was nominated as the most underrated writer of the century by biographer David Cecil and Philip Larkin, which led to the nomination of her novel Quartet in Autumn for the Booker Prize; she also became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature the same year. In all, Barbara published eleven novels, two of which were released posthumously.

The Barbara Pym Society is based at St Hilda’s College.

Barbara Pym