Literary Birthday – 16 July – Anita Brookner

Anita Brookner was born 16 July 1928, and died 10 March 2016.


  1. Nobody grows up. Everyone carries around all the selves that they have ever been, intact, waiting to be reactivated in moments of pain, of fear, of danger. Everything is retrievable, every shock, every hurt.
  2. Writing novels preserves you in a state of innocence – a lot passes you by – simply because your attention is otherwise diverted.
  3. Real love is a pilgrimage. It happens when there is no strategy, but it is very rare because most people are strategists.
  4. The lessons taught in great books are misleading. The commerce in life is rarely so simple and never so just.
  5. To remain pure a novel has to cast a moral puzzle. Anything else is mere negotiation.
  6. In real life, it is the hare who wins. Every time. Look around you. And in any case it is my contention that Aesop was writing for the tortoise market. Hares have no time to read. They are too busy winning the game.
  7. You never know what you will learn till you start writing. Then you discover truths you never knew existed.
  8. My idea of absolute happiness is to sit in a hot garden all day, reading, or writing, utterly safe in the knowledge that the person I love will come home to me in the evening. Every evening.
  9. Writing has freed me from the despair of living.
  10. It was then that I saw the business of writing for what it truly was and is to me. It is your penance for not being lucky. It is an attempt to reach others and to make them love you. It is your instinctive protest, when you find you have no voice at the world’s tribunals, and that no one will speak for you.
  11. Existentialism is about being a saint without God; being your own hero, without all the sanction and support of religion or society.
  12. Problems of human behaviour still continue to baffle us, but at least in the Library we have them properly filed.

Anita Brookner was an English novelist and art historian. She won the Booker Prize for Hotel Du Lac.

Click here to see what the author looks like

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 16th July 2013