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Another Kind of Dame

The death of Dame Beryl Bainbridge has been greeted with sadness by all who enjoyed her books and larger-than-life personality. There will be a flurry of obituaries and "literary assessments" of someone who was dubbed "the Booker bridesmaid" (she was nominated five times) before she is allowed to take her place in the literary pantheon. Many writers produce autobiographies and we all know how sceptically one has to read certain sections, but Dame Beryl did something different. About four years ago she made a film with her grandson called "Beryl's Last Year" to record what she thought she was like. Few of us would be brave enough or imaginative enough to risk such a venture. I think it demonstrates that she was indeed another kind of dame. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

(Note for the perplexed: Benedictine nuns are called "Dame", a relic of the medieval "Domina" or more commonly, "Domna": it is just a form of address [like the monk's "Dom"]; Dame Beryl had received a D.B.E. from the Queen. In her case "Dame" is the equivalent to the knight's "Sir" and is a title of honour.