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Levy, Deborah

Deborah Levy

Elected: 2017

Year of birth: 1959

Image credit: Sheila Burnett

Deborah Levy trained at Dartington College of Arts leaving in 1981 to write a number of plays, highly acclaimed for their “intellectual rigour, poetic fantasy and visual imagination” (Marina Warner), including Pax, Clam and Heresies for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Macbeth-False Memories for The Actors Touring Company, all published in Levy: Plays 1. (Methuen). Deborah has written six novels: Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton) shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize and Goldsmith’s Prize, Swimming Home (& Other Stories/Faber) shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize (both broadcast on BBC Radio 4), Beautiful MutantsSwallowing Geography, The Unloved (reissued by Penguin in 2014), Billy and Girl (Bloomsbury) which won a Lannan award in 2000.

Her short story collection, Black Vodka (& Other Stories) was shortlisted for The Frank O’Connor Award. Deborah’s autobiographical essay on writing, Things I Don’t Want To Know, a response to George Orwell’s 1946 essay Why I Write, and Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, is published by Penguin in the UK, Bloomsbury in the USA, Wagenbach in Germany, and will be translated in both Korea and Poland. Its sequel, The Cost of Living, will be published by Penguin in 2018.

Her novels have been translated into 14 languages and her poetry collection, An Amorous Discourse in The Suburbs of Hell (& Other Stories 2014) widely adapted for the stage.

For BBC Radio 4, Deborah wrote two acclaimed dramatizations of Freud’s most famous case studies, ‘Dora’ and ‘The Wolfman’; other Radio 4 dramatizations include Carol Shields’ last novel, Unless, (10 episodes), Katherine Mansfield’s short story collection, In a German Pension, (5 episodes) and Colette’s novella, Chance Acquaintances. Deborah was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1989-1991; AHRB Fellow at The Royal College of Art 2006-9 where she taught writing in the Animation Department, and Visiting Professor in Writing at Falmouth University 2012-15.  Levy is co-judge for the Ivan Juritz Prize for Creative Responses to Modernism at King’s College, London.

More of our Fellows

Helen Castor

Michèle Roberts

Peter J Conradi

Brian Patten

Fellowship Election Process​

Fellows are nominated by peers and elected by our Council of writers – our governing Board. Being elected a Fellow of the RSL is a lifetime honour. This role gives them the opportunity to support other writers, readers and the future of literature. The RSL connects writers in the Fellowship to one another, and to a wider readership.