Pulitzer winner Alison Lurie dies, aged 94

Pulitzer winner Alison Lurie dies, aged 94

Alison Lurie, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1985 for her novel Foreign Affairs (Vintage), has died at the age of 94.

The author, professor emerita at Cornell University, passed away from natural causes on 3rd December, her husband and fellow writer Edward Hower said.

Lurie published 10 novels during her career, including the London-set Foreign Affairs, The War Between the Tates (Vintage) and The Truth About Lorin Jones (Little, Brown), which won the Prix Femina étranger.

Her non-fiction works included Familiar Spirits (Viking), a memoir of her friendship with poet James Merrill and she also produced collections of stories for children. Her most recent work was essay collection Words and Worlds (Delphinium), released last year.

Nick Skidmore, Vintage Classics senior editor, called her "one of the great social satirists of our time". He said: "Best known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Foreign Affairs and The War Between the Tates, her sharp, witty, yet excoriating books dramatised her generation’s social ambition and folly in ways that were always thrilling to witness. Be it intellectual one-upmanship, extramarital bed-hopping, or bitter recriminations, Lurie had a wicked eye for the tragic-comic and the perverse human fascination with disaster-in-the-making."

Her agent, Margaret Halton of PEW Literary, said: "It has been a privilege to work on Alison's behalf in her later years and I’m really pleased that she was able to see and approve the recent and forthcoming Vintage reissues of her backlist titles. She had a good and long, happy life and I hope her books will continue to bring joy to readers new and old."

In the Nielsen BookScan era, since 1998, Lurie's books have sold 64,871 copies for £480,905 via Nielsen BookScan's UK TCM, with 1999's The Last Resort (Vintage), her bestseller.

Alongside her writing, she taught literature, folklore and creative writing at Cornell University for many years.