Isabel Colegate was born in 1931 in London and was educated at Runton Hill School in Norfolk. In 1952 she went into partnership with Anthony Blond, who was then starting a literary agency and would go on to found a publishing house, and in 1953 she married Michael Briggs, with whom she has a daughter and two sons.
Colegate’s first novel, The Blackmailer, was published by Blond in 1958 and was followed by two more novels focusing on English life in the years after the Second World War: A Man of Power (1960) and The Great Occasion (1962). These were later republished by Penguin in an omnibus volume, Three Novels, in 1983.
Though she has written a number of other successful novels, as well as reviews for the Spectator, Daily Telegraph and TLS, Colegate is best known for her bestseller and major critical success The Shooting Party (1980), which won the W.H. Smith Literary Award and was adapted for a now-classic 1985 film version. The book is still in print today (with Counterpoint in the US and as a Penguin Modern Classic in the UK). More recently, she has written the acclaimed novel Winter Journey (1995) and the non-fiction work Pelican in the Wilderness: Hermits and Solitaries (2002).
Isabel Colegate was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in1981. She and her husband live in Somerset.
Photo: Jerry Bauer