Antonia Fraser

Antonia Fraser

Infobox Writer

imagesize =upright
name =Antonia Fraser
birthname =Antonia Margaret Caroline Pakenham
birthdate =birth date and age|1932|8|27|df=y
birthplace =London, England
nationality=flagicon|United Kingdom British
period =1969–
genre =biography, detective fiction
spouse =Harold Pinter (1980– )
Hugh Fraser (1956–1977)
children = six (with Fraser)
website =

Lady Antonia Fraser, CBE (born 27 August 1932), née Pakenham, is an English author of history and novels, best known as Antonia Fraser for writing biographies and detective fiction. She is the second wife of Harold Pinter, the 2005 Nobel Laureate in Literature, and is also known as Antonia Pinter.Mel Gussow, [ "The Lady Is a Writer"] , "The New York Times Magazine", Health sec., September 9, 1984, accessed June 13, 2008.] Eleanor O'Donnell, [ "Author Profiles: Introducing Lady Antonia Fraser"] , "", accessed June 13, 2008.] Antonia Fraser, [,,2035929,00.html "Writer's Rooms: Antonia Fraser"] , "The Guardian", Culture: Books, accessed June 13, 2008. (Includes photograph.)]


Family background and education

Born on 27 August 1932, and named Antonia Margaret Caroline Pakenham, Antonia Fraser is the daughter of Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford (1905–2001), and his wife, Elizabeth Pakenham, Countess of Longford, née Elizabeth Harman (1906–2002); thus, her formal title (form of address) is "Lady Antonia". When she was a teenager,Ginny Dougary, [ "Lady Antonia Fraser's Life Less Ordinary:] In a Frank Interview, the Famed Writer Talks about Motherhood, Catholicism, Her Parents and Soulmate Harold Pinter", "The Times", "", July 5, 2008, accessed July 5, 2008.] like all her siblings, she became a convert to the Catholic Church, after the conversion of her parents.Daniel Snowman, [ "Lady Antonia Fraser"] , "History Today" 50.10 (October 2000): 26-28 (excerpt; full article available to subscribers or pay-per-view customers).] Her "maternal grandparents were Unitarians – a non-conformist faith with a strong emphasis on social reform ..."; in response to criticism of her writing about Oliver Cromwell, she has said: "I have no Catholic blood"; before his own conversion in his thirties, following a nervous breakdown in the Army, she has explained, "My father was Protestant Church of Ireland and my mother was Unitarian up to the age of 20, when she abandoned it." She was educated at St Mary's School Ascot, Ascot and Dragon School, Oxford," [ Antonia Fraser: Q&A] " at Orion Publishing Group (UK publisher), accessed August 25, 2007.] and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, also her mother's alma mater.Nicholas Wroe, [,12241,779817,00.html "Profile: The History Woman"] , "The Guardian", August 24, 2002, Arts & Humanities, accessed June 13, 2008.] [ "Featured Alumni: Antonia Fraser: Author, Lady Margaret Hall"] , University of Oxford, "", last updated October 29, 2007, accessed June 17, 2008.]

Marriages and later life

From 1956 until their divorce in 1977, she was married to Sir Hugh Fraser (1918-1984), a descendant of Scottish aristocracy 15 years her senior and a Conservative Unionist MP in the House of Commons (sitting for Stafford), who was a friend of the American Kennedy family. [ "Sir Hugh Fraser Dead; Long a Tory Legislator"] , "The New York Times", March 7, 1984, Obituaries, accessed June 13, 2008.] They had six children: three sons, Benjamin, Damian, and Orlando; and three daughters, Rebecca, Flora, and Natasha (Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni), who are all also writers and biographers. Benjamin works for JPMorgan, Damian is the managing director of the investment banking firm UBS AG (formerly S. G. Warburg) in Mexico, and Orlando is a barrister specializing in commercial law (Wroe). Lady Antonia has 17 grandchildren.

On 22 October 1975, Hugh and Antonia Fraser, together with Caroline Kennedy, who was visiting them at their Holland Park home, in Kensington, West London, were almost blown up by an IRA car bomb placed under the wheels of his Jaguar, which had been triggered to go off at 9am when he left the house; the bomb exploded prematurely when it was examined and inadvertently set off by the eminent cancer researcher Gordon Hamilton-Fairley (1930–1975), a neighbor of the Frasers, who had been walking his dog, noticed and inspected the device under the car, and died as a result of the blast. [ "Timeline: 1974-75: The Year London Blew Up"] , "Channel 4", website feature, accessed August 27, 2007.]

In 1975, Antonia Fraser met and began an affair with playwright Harold Pinter, who was then married to the actress Vivien Merchant, resulting in fodder for the British tabloid newspapers. In 1977, after she had been living with Pinter for two years, the Frasers' union was legally dissolved. Merchant spoke about her distress publicly to the press, which quoted her cutting remarks about her rival, but she resisted divorcing Pinter. In 1980, after Merchant signed divorce papers, Fraser and Pinter married.See also|Harold Pinter#Marriage and family life

They live in Holland Park, near Notting Hill Gate, in the Fraser family home, where she still writes in her fourth-floor study.Antonia Fraser, [ "Sofia's Choice"] , "Vanity Fair", Nov. 2006, accessed June 13, 2008.]


She began work as an "all-purpose assistant" for George Weidenfeld at Weidenfeld & Nicolson (her "only job"), which later became her own publisher and part of Orion Publishing Group, which publishes her works in the UK.Antonia Fraser, [ "Q & A", Orion Publishing Group author's website, accessed June 13, 2008.]

Her first major work, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, was "Mary, Queen of Scots" (1969), which was followed by several other biographies, including "Cromwell, Our Chief of Men" (1973)Her bibliography of works published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (Orion Publishing Group)] , along with a short biography, is listed in her Orion author's webpage, [ [ "Antonia Fraser"] , Publisher's page on Fraser, as well as in her own official website, "".] She won the Wolfson History Award in 1984 for "The Weaker Vessel", a study of women's lives in 17th century England. From 1988 to 1989, she was president of English PEN, and she chaired its Writers in Prison Committee.Facts|date=June 2008

She also has written detective novels; the most popular involved a character named Jemima Shore were adapted into a television series which aired in the UK in 1983.

In 1983 to 1984, she was president of the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club. [ "Our President in 1983/84 was: Lady Antonia Fraser"] , biography, "Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club" (Club official website), accessed January 5, 2008.]

More recently, Fraser published "The Warrior Queens", the story of various military royal women since the days of Boadicea and Cleopatra. In 1992, a year after Alison Weir's book "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", she published a book with the same title, which British historian Eric Ives cites in his study of Ann Boleyn. [Eric W. Ives, "The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn", rev. ed. (1986; London: Blackwell's, 2004) xvii. ISBN 0631234799 (10). ISBN 978-0631234791 (13).]

She chronicled the life and times of Charles II in a well-reviewed 1979 eponymous biography. The book was cited as an influence on the 2003 BBC/A&E mini-series, "Charles II: The Power & the Passion", in a featurette on the DVD, by Rufus Sewell who played the title character.Facts|date=June 2008 Fraser has also served as the editor for many monarchical biographies, including those featured in the "Kings and Queens of England" and "Royal History of England" series, and, in 1996, she also published a book entitled "The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605", which won both the St Louis Literary Award and the Crime Writers' Association (CWA) Non-Fiction Gold Dagger.Antonia Fraser, " [ The Gunpowder Plot] ", "", accessed June 13, 2008.]

Two of the most recent of her thirteen non-fiction books are "" (2001, 2002), which has been made into the film "Marie Antoinette" (2006), directed by Sofia Coppola, with Kirsten Dunst in the title role, and "Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King" (2006).

From 1979 to 1990, she was a panelist on the BBC Radio 4 panel game "My Word!", taking the chair for one season in 1983.Facts|date=June 2008

She serves as a judge for the Enid McLeod Literary Prize, awarded by the Franco-British Society, having won that prize herself for her biography "" (2001). [ "Benefits"] , "", accessed June 13, 2008.] Alex Danchev, [ "They Remember, But Others Forget"] , "Times Higher Education Supplement", March 2, 2007, accessed June 13, 2008.]

Correcting those who notice only her physical beauty – remarked upon both in her youth and well into her seventh decade – some readers and audience members of her talks have stressed that she is "more than just a pretty face" but actually an accomplished historian and "an intellectual".Sam Leith, [ "Literary Lazing"] , "Daily Telegraph", Arts blogs, July 10, 2007, accessed June 13, 2008.]


*James Tait Black Memorial Prize (1969), for her book "Mary, Queen of Scots".
*Wolfson History Prize (1984), for her book "The Weaker Vessel".
*Crime Writers' Association Macallan Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction (1996), for her book "The Gunpowder Plot". [ "Gold Daggers"] , Crime Writers' Association official site, "", accessed June 13, 2008.]
*St Louis Literary Award (1996), for her book "The Gunpowder Plot".
*Historical Association Norton Medlicott Medal (2000).
*Enid McLeod Literary Prize (2001), from the Franco-British Society, for "". [ "Enid McLeod Literary Prize"] , "Book Trust", "", accessed June 13, 2008.]

elected bibliography

:(Sources: Antonia Fraser, [ Offical website >History Books, >Other Books] , "", accessed June 13, 2008.] )

Non-Fiction works

* "Mary, Queen of Scots" (1969). ISBN 0-385-31129-X.
* "King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table" (1970)
* "Dolls" (1973).
* "Cromwell, Our Chief of Men" (1973); also published as "Cromwell: The Lord Protector". ISBN 0-8021-3766-0.
* "King James VI and I" (1974).
* "The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England" [Editor] (1975).
* "King Charles II" (1979); also published as "Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration" and "Charles II". ISBN 0-7538-1403-X.
* "The Weaker Vessel: Woman's Lot in Seventeenth-century England" (1984).
* "The Warrior Queens: Boadicea's Chariot" (1988); also published as "Warrior Queens: The Legends and Lives of Women Who Have Lead Their Nations in War".
* "The Six Wives of Henry VIII". (1999; rpt. & updated ed. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2007). ISBN 029764355X (10). ISBN 9780297643555 (13). Also published as the Orion audio-book "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" (Nov. 2006). ISBN 0752889133. The first paperback ed. is "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" (London: Mandarin, 1993). ISBN 0749314095 (10); ISBN 978-0749314095 (13). The 1st American ed. is entitled "The Wives of Henry VIII". New York: Knopf, 1992. ISBN 0394585380 (10); ISBN 978-0394585383 (13).
* "The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605" (1996); also published as "Faith and Treason: The Gunpowder Plot". ISBN 0-385-47189-0.
* "Marie Antoinette" (2001). ISBN 0-385-48949-8. Published with subtitle as "" (2002). ISBN 0-753-82140-0 (10). ISBN 978-075-382140-4 (13).
* "Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King" (2006). ISBN 0-297-82997-1.

Jemima Shore novels

* "Quiet as a Nun" (1977).
* "The Wild Island" (1978).
* "A Splash of Red" (1981).
* "Cool Repentance" (1982).
* "Oxford Blood" (1985).
* "Jemima Shore's First Case" (1986).
* "Your Royal Hostage" (1987).
* "The Cavalier Case" (1990).
* "Jemima Shore at the Sunny Grave" (1991).
* "Political Death" (1995).


* "Scottish Love Poems" (1975).
* "Love Letters" (1976).

ee also

*Earl of Longford


elected references

;Biographies and profiles
*Gussow Mel. [ "The Lady Is a Writer"] . "The New York Times Magazine", September 9, 1984, Health sec. Accessed June 13, 2008. (8 pages.)
*O'Donnell, Eleanor. [ "Author Profiles: Introducing Lady Antonia Fraser"] . "". Accessed June 13, 2008.
* [ "Our President in 1983/84 was: Lady Antonia Fraser"] . Biography in "Past Presidents" section. "Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club" (Club official website). Accessed January 5, 2008. (Hosts short audio clip of "Toast to Sir Walter; full text available in 1984 Club "Bulletin"; full speech available on CD from Club site.)
*Snowman, Daniel. [ "Lady Antonia Fraser"] . "History Today" 50.10 (October 2000): 26-28. (Excerpt; full article available to subscribers or pay-per-view customers.) Accessed June 13, 2008.
*Wroe, Nicholas. [,12241,779817,00.html "Profile: The History Woman."] "The Guardian" 24 August 2002, Arts & Humanities. Accessed June 13, 2008.

;Interviews and interview-based articles
*Dougary, Ginny. [ "Lady Antonia Fraser's Life Less Ordinary:] In a Frank Interview, the Famed Writer Talks about Motherhood, Catholicism, Her Parents and Soulmate Harold Pinter". "The Times", "", July 5, 2008. Accessed July 5, 2008.
*Leith, Sam. [ "Literary Lazing"] . "Daily Telegraph", Arts blogs, July 10, 2007. Accessed June 13, 2008.
*Talese, Nan A. [ Interview with Antonia Fraser] . "Random House Books". 2001. Accessed January 8, 2008. (Transcript; "This interview appears in an abridged form in the Nan A. Talese Fall 2001 Catalog of Authors.")

* [ "Timeline: 1974–75: The Year London Blew Up: August–November 1975"] . 22 October 1975. "Channel 4". "". N.d. Accessed July 6, 2008.

External links

* [ "Antonia Fraser"] – "Author Spotlight". Random House (US publisher). Accessed October 25, 2007.
* [ "Antonia Fraser"] – Author webpage. Orion Publishing Group (UK publisher). Accessed October 25, 2007.
* [ "Antonia Fraser"] – Biography featured in "Participating Authors", conference on "Real Lives: Exploring Memoir and Biography", The Shakespeare & Company Literary Festival: "", 13 – 15 June 2008, Paris, France. Accessed June 13, 2008.
*" [] " – Antonia Fraser's official website. © 2007 Antonia Fraser. All rights reserved. Accessed October 25, 2007.
* [ "Antonia Fraser"] – Biography in conjunction with lecture presented to "Seattle Arts and Lectures", Seattle, Washington, October 28, 2006. Accessed January 5, 2008.
* [ "An Audience with Antonia Fraser"] – Biography featured by "Clive Conway Celebrity Productions". Accessed June 13, 2008.
*WiredForBooks|antoniafraser|"Audio Interview with Antonia Fraser" (1984)] , conducted by Don Swaim, CBS Radio (New York) [online posting of RealAudio and MP3 audio links Accessed October 26, 2007.
* [ "Culture Clinic: Lady Antonia Fraser"] . "The Telegraph", March 15, 2008. Accessed March 16, 2008.
* [ "Interviews: Antonia Fraser Peers into the Heart of Louis XIV"] . Broadcast on "Weekend Edition Saturday", National Public Radio, November 11, 2006. Accessed January 11, 2007. (NPR audio accessible for both RealPlayer and Windows Media Player.)
* [ "Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Pakenham"] – Biography posted in "": "A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe: Person Page - 7094 [#70938] ". Accessed June 16, 2008.
* [ "Toast to Sir Walter"] , presented to the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club by Antonia Fraser, its president for 1983–1984. Accessed January 5, 2007. (Short MP3 audio clip from the speech hosted on Club's official website; full text published in the Club's 1984 "Bulletin".)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Antonia Fraser — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Fraser. Dame Antonia Margaret Caroline Pakenham Fraser Pinter, DBE, plus connue sous le nom d Antonia Fraser, née le 27 août 1932 à Londres, est une femme de lettres britannique, biographe, historienne et… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Antonia Fraser — Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Fraser DBE (* 27. August 1932 in Bayswater, London als Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Pakenham) ist eine britische Historikerin und Bestseller Autorin. [1] Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Antonia — ist ein weiblicher Vorname. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft und Bedeutung des Namens 2 Namenstag 3 Bekannte Namensträgerinnen 4 Varianten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Fraser (Familienname) — Fraser ist ein Familienname. Bekannte Namensträger Inhaltsverzeichnis A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Fraser (surname) — Family name name= Fraser imagesize= 200 px caption= pronunciation = meaning = region = origin = Scottish related names = footnotes = Fraser is a surname, of Scottish origin (see Clan Fraser), and may refer to many people.compactTOC. A* Alex… …   Wikipedia

  • Fraser — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom.  Pour l’article homophone, voir Frazer. Sur les autres projets Wikimedia : « Fraser », s …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Antonia Bernath — (born 1985) is a United States born British actress. Raised in Wiltshire, England, Bernath attended Godolphin School before moving on to the University of Cambridge. Later, she dropped out of university when she gained entrance to the Bristol Old …   Wikipedia

  • Antonia Zerbisias — (born in Montreal) is a Canadian journalist. She has been a reporter and TV host for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, as well as the Montreal correspondent for Variety trade paper. She was nominated for ACTRA awards for her documentary… …   Wikipedia

  • Graham Fraser — Fraser Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom.  Pour l’article homophone, voir Frazer. Fraser peut désigner : Toponyme L Île Fraser est une île d Australie ; Le …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hugh Fraser (politician) — Major Sir Hugh Charles Patrick Joseph Fraser MBE (23 January 1918 ndash; 6 March 1984) was a British Conservative politician and first husband of Lady Antonia Fraser.He was a younger son of the 14th Lord Lovat and a prominent Roman Catholic.… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.