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Friday, 12 January, 2001, 14:12 GMT
Tributes to 'brilliant' Sage
Lorna Sage
Sage was "an inspiration to those she taught"
Friends and colleagues of Lorna Sage have been paying tribute to the writer and academic following her death aged 57.

Jon Cook, Dean of English and American Studies at the University of East Anglia, where Sage was Professor of English Literature, said: "We are stunned and deeply saddened by the death of Lorna Sage.

"Her passion for literature inspired generations of students who worked with her.

Bad Blood was her masterpiece

Blake Morrison

"She was deeply committed to the success and distinction of literary studies and a brilliant, witty and deeply learned literary critic."

Sage had worked as a critic for Literary Review, The New York Times and The Observer, where she met novelist Blake Morrison.


He said on Friday: "She was an excellent critic - subtle and intelligent - as well as a very good teacher."

But it was Bad Blood, the story of Sage's bizarre upbringing in the North Wales town of Hanmer that brought her to public notice.

I didn't know she was ill when we judged the prize and must say the book was judged entirely on its merits

Whitbread judge David Sexton
Morrison, who has published his own highly acclaimed memoir When Did You Last See Your Father? said of the work: "This is her masterpiece - she spent a very long time making sense of family relationships in such a vivid way."

It was this vivid analysis that brought her this year's Whitbread Biography Award.

A spokesman for the Whitbread Prize said: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Lorna Sage.

"The book remains in contention for the Whitbread Book of the Year Award which will be announced on January 23."


Whitbread judge David Sexton, literary editor of The Evening Standard, said: "I hope she does go on to win the overall prize later in the month."

The news of her death came as a complete surprise to him.

"I didn't know she was ill when we judged the prize and must say the book was judged entirely on its merits," he said.

"Bad Blood is completely original and covered material that nobody else has written about before, growing up as a girl at that time in that place."

She was thrilled to get praise and letters

Editor Nicholas Pearson
The book was commissioned in the early 90s and is the product of much thought and careful rewriting by Sage.

Her editor during that time, Nicholas Pearson, praised her "inspirational" writing.

But he added that despite this she was always modest: "She was thrilled to get praise and to get letters, even from residents of Hanmer."

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12 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Whitbread winner dies
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Whitbread winners profiled
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