British novelist Stanley Middleton dies at 89

Updated: Aug 01, 2009, 21:58 PM IST

London: Stanley Middleton, a prolific novelist who shared the prestigious Booker Prize in 1974, has died of cancer, his family said.

Middleton died in Nottingham in central England on July 25, a week short of his 90th birthday.

Nearly all of Middleton`s 44 novels were based in Nottingham, though he often called the town "Beechnall." He was born in Nottingham, took his university degree in the city, and taught English at High Pavement school in the city from 1947 to 1981, heading the department for 23 years.

His experiences in the army in India were the basis for one novel. His latest book, `Her Three Wise Men,` was published last year.

A voracious reader as a teenager, Middleton said the most powerful influence on him was DH Lawrence, "who opened my eyes to the possibility that a major author could write about the sort of life I saw around me, using my own dialect and describing places that I had seen with my own eyes."

Middleton was 38 when he published his first novel, `A Short Answer,` but then produced a new book nearly every year afterward.

`Holiday,` which shared the Booker Prize with Nadine Gordimer`s `The Conservationist,` told of a man struggling with the death of his son and the decay of his marriage.

Middleton is survived by Margaret, his wife of 57 years, and their daughters, Penni and Sarah.

The novelist`s funeral will be held Monday at Ravensworth Road Methodist Church in Nottingham, where Middleton frequently served as organist.

Bureau Report