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Eva Figes (1932–2012)

Author of Light

Includes the names: Eva Figes, Eva Figes

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Eva Figes, née Unger, was born to a prosperous Jewish family in Berlin, Germany, and had an idyllic early childhood. In November 1938, during the Nazi pogrom known as Kristallnacht, her father was arrested and sent to Dachau concentration camp. After his release, the family managed to flee to the UK, arriving in 1939. She was an avid reader and soon mastered the English language. In 1953, she graduated with honours from Queen Mary College at the University of London. She worked in publishing until 1967, when she quit to become a full-time writer. In 1954, she married John George Figes, with whom she had two children, writer Kate Figes and historian Orlando Figes. The couple later divorced. Her best-known book is Patriarchal Attitudes: Women in Society (1970), a hugely influential early British feminist work. She won the Guardian Fiction Prize for her second novel Winter Journey in 1967 and was acclaimed for creating new literary forms in works such as Light (1983). Among her dozen other novels was Konek Landing (1969), about a Holocaust survivor unable to come to terms with the present. She also wrote literary criticism, including Sex and Subterfuge: Women Novelists to 1850 (1982); and a trio of memoirs, Little Eden: A Child at War (1978), Tales of Innocence and Experience: An Exploration (2004), and Journey to Nowhere (2008).
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