Bentley, Ursula 1945-2004
BENTLEY, Ursula 1945-2004
See index for CA sketch: Born September 18, 1945, in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England; died April 7, 2004. A critically praised author of comic novels, Bentley's promising career as an author was curtailed by personal tragedies. After her mother died giving birth to her, Bentley and her siblings were raised by relatives and she was educated at Ursuline Convent in Wimbledon. Although she had a strong interest in theatre, she studied English literature instead at Manchester University, where she earned her bachelor's degree. Marrying a geologist, she then spent her time as a wife and mother, traveling with her husband on his various assignments. While the family was in Zurich, Switzerland, she penned her first novel, The Natural Order (1982), a Brontëesque tale set in the 1970s. The book received excellent reviews and her name appeared on the Granta Best of British Novelists shortlists. The Natural Order was followed by the similarly praised but less financially successful Private Accounts (1986). Bentley's writing was interrupted by an illness similar to her mother's which left her unable to bear more children. Divorce soon followed, and Bentley was left to care for her severely depressed son and daughter. These family troubles put writing on a low priority until the 1990s, when she published The Angel of Twickenham (1997) and her last novel, The Sloping Experience (1999). Illness finally caught up to Bentley, however, and her next book, which was about the role of the dog in medieval England, was unfinished at the time of her death.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Daily Post (Liverpool, England), April 13, 2004, p. 11.
Daily Telegraph (London, England), April 12, 2004.
Independent (London, England), April 14, 2004, p. 35.
Times (London, England), April 15, 2004, p. 35.