Author Andrea Levy dies, aged 62
Author Andrea Levy dies, aged 62

Author Andrea Levy, whose work chronicled the black British experience in the years after Windrush, has died aged 62.

Born in 1956 to Jamaican parents who travelled to England on the Empire Windrush in 1948, Levy is best known for her award-winning novel Small Island, told from the perspective of four characters, exploring the Jamaican diaspora and the surrounding community in the aftermath of World War II.

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Small Island, her fourth novel, proved to be her breakthrough work, winning the Whitbread Book of the Year, the Orange Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.

It was adapted into a BBC series starring David Oyelowo and Benedict Cumberbatch in 2009, and a stage adaptation will be performed at the National Theatre this May.

Levy started writing in her mid-30s, after enrolling in a creative writing class, and published her first novel Every Light in the House Burnin′, a semi-autobiographical book at a young woman growing up in North London in the 1960s, in 1994.

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Her last novel, The Long Song, released in 2010, was nominated for the Booker Prize and adapted for BBC One last year. Unlike her other novels, the story is not set in post-war Britain but in early 19th century Jamaica, during the last years of slavery.

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The author’s final work was Six Stories and an Essay, published in 2014 and consisting of a collection of short stories from over the span of her career, alongside an essay about her Caribbean heritage.

A statement released on behalf of her family said she died of cancer.

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