Obituary Note: Helen Dunmore

Poet, novelist and children's author Helen Dunmore died of cancer yesterday. She was 64.

The author of 12 novels, three books of short stories, many books for young adults and children, and 11 collections of poetry, Dunmore had "a flair for reinvention and making history human," the Guardian wrote.

Dunmore won the inaugural Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996 for A Spell of Winter and the McKitterick Prize for debut novelists in 1994 for Zennor in Darkness. In 2001, The Siege was shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and Whitbread Novel of the Year. Other titles included The Betrayal, The Lie and Birdcage Walk, which was published in March.

Penguin Random House said it was "devastated by the loss of one of our best-loved authors," the Bookseller wrote, adding that Dunmore had been "an inspirational and generous author, championing emerging voices and other established authors" as well as "a very dear friend" to many at Penguin Random House and the wider literary community. Her fiction, the company continued, was "rich and intricate, yet narrated with a deceptive simplicity that made all her writing accessible and heartfelt."

Selina Walker, Dunmore's editor at Hutchinson, told the Bookseller that Dunmore was "very much a writer's writer and it is no coincidence that her final novel, Birdcage Walk, deals with legacy and recognition: what writers, especially women writers, can expect to leave behind them. She left a legacy of exceptional novels, and the fact that there will now be no more is simply heart-breaking. She was an exceptional person and an exceptional novelist, and her e-mails--like her writing--were filled with grace and light and sensitivity. I will miss her hugely."

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