Barbara Pym (1913–1980)

Author of Excellent Women

Includes the names: Pym Barbara, Bárbara Pym, Bárbara Pym

MembersReviewsPopularityRatingFavorited   Events   
9,493 (9,821)3831,492 (3.93)1350

Top members (works)

Member favorites

Members: madhatter22, m_beth, ryaSilvia, holdsuponhappiness, TanteLeonie, anbolyn, LadyoftheLodge, private member, MrsKessler, private member, DorsVenabili, mlfhlibrarian, sansmerci, sendlich, CDVicarage, pickupf, GeraniumCat, brenzi, elkiedee, RobinsLibrary (show 115 more), noveltea, SarahAnnH, Dani.Koltrast, souloftherose, Chiara_Amelia, Rebeki, Cymrugirl, JettaTDI, papercat, Cimbrone, lomelindi, ESutter, alexdaw, LindenLarken, bklynbiblio, Ruthy.H, Tara_Kelly, theaelizabet, moonmau, Julian48, audreyj, virezlay, neverlistless, emerlu, readeron, hollytom, Pontevallo, nvlad, RiversideReader, FemmeNoiresque, red_guy, errata, obleak1, Kasthu, buriedinprint, vestafan, Yuhbo, lagazelle, Froggles, loriephillips, alcottacre, January60, gwyneira, AnnavanGelderen, slwenz20, magicpudding, susanbooks, SophieMil, thesmellofbooks, BookAngel_a, Gwendolen_North, wilmet, catherinestead, Cariola, katylit, ericandsue, gharader, CNeedham, MichaelDJB, bkchick, private member, private member, jfetting, LizzieD, Heaven-Ali, marcella_s, tuppy_glossop, mlkasputis, marcellemarcelle, private member, LyzzyBee, gowing, suzik, private member, the_red_shoes, KayCliff, celiafrances, Soupdragon, private member, bleuroses, janecameby, jlshall, Marensr, carlym, gcolvin, BurlingtonNorthern, bethnienow, SoManyPages, rhutchinson1775, DameMuriel, Romanus, Robertgreaves, PensiveCat, marise, lauralkeet, otterlake, austen2pym, thatOlJanxSpirit, bpym, aznstarlette, tiffin, Eurydice, aemilys, woolnwords, summerflood, bookbesotted, Imprinted, smallwonder56, pennyhillemann, Sobrina_de_Santo, thorold, yooperprof, monkeyandcrow, hvhay, AsYouKnow_Bob

Add to favorites

Barbara Pym has 1 past event. (show)

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical name
Legal name
Other names
Date of birth
Date of death
Burial location
Country (for map)
Place of death
Places of residence
Awards and honors
Short biography
Barbara Mary Crampton Pym was born to Frederic and Irena Pym on June 2, 1913, in the town of Oswestry, Shropshire, on the Welsh border. Since Irena Pym was assistant organist at the parish church of St. Oswald, entertaining vicars and curates became part of Pym family life. In 1931, Barbara entered St. Hilda's College at Oxford, where she read English literature. She then returned to Oswestry where she began writing novels, but without initial success. When war overtook Europe in 1940, Barbara was assigned to the Censorship office at Bristol and decided to join the Wrens (Women's Royal Naval Service). In 1944, she was posted to Naples until the end of the war. After the war, Barbara took a job at the International African Institute in London, and soon became the assistant editor for the journal Africa. Her career as a published writer was then launched. Two years after her modest success as a writer, in 1963, Barbara submitted An Unsuitable Attachment to Jonathan Cape, her publisher; it was rejected as being out of step with the times. In all, twenty publishers refused to publish her latest novel. But despite the bleak future, she continued to write. In 1971 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy; in 1974 she suffered a minor stroke. She then retired from the Institute and went to live with her sister Hilary at her cottage in Finstock, Oxfordshire. In the January 21,1977 issue of the Times Literary Supplement, Barbara Pym was twice named (by Philip Larkin and Lord David Cecil) as "the most underrated novelist of the century." She emerged from "the wilderness" after sixteen years of obscurity, to almost instant fame and recognition. Only two years after her rediscovery, her cancer returned and this time, treatments were unsuccessful. She died at the Michael Sobell House, a hospice in Oxford, on January 11, 1980. She is buried in the churchyard at Finstock.
Disambiguation notice

Legacy Library: Barbara Pym

Barbara Pym has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

» Barbara Pym's legacy profile.

» Barbara Pym's profile.

» Barbara Pym's catalog.

Member ratings

Average: (3.93)
1 15
1.5 1
2 55
2.5 34
3 376
3.5 234
4 903
4.5 149
5 475

Improve this author

Combine/separate works

Author division

Barbara Pym is currently considered a "single author." If one or more works are by a distinct, homonymous authors, go ahead and split the author.


Barbara Pym is composed of 4 names. You can examine and separate out names.

Combine with…


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,165,337 books! | Top bar: Always visible