Entertainment & Arts

Josephine Hart, author of Damage, dies in London

Josephine Hart
Image caption Hart also founded West End Poetry Hour at the British Library

Irish-born author Josephine Hart, whose 1991 debut novel, Damage, was made into a film starring Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche, has died in London.

A spokeswoman for her husband, Lord Saatchi, said Hart, who had cancer, died on Thursday.

Her literary agent, Ed Victor, said she was in her late 60s, but that she was "coy and secretive" about her age.

Hart also produced a number of West End plays, including Coward's The Vortex and Iris Murdoch's The Black Prince.

Other bestselling novels include Sin, Oblivion, The Stillest Day and The Reconstructionist.

'True voice'

Before becoming a writer, she worked in publishing. She also founded West End Poetry Hour at the British Library, in which actors including Dame Judi Dench and Simon Callow read works by major poets.

In the late 1980s, she presented the ITV series Books by My Bedside, in which she interviewed authors including Jackie Collins and Martin Amis.

In a recent interview with the literary website Book Rabbit, Hart said her philosophy was to "wait for the true voice of your narrator, surrender, totally, during the actual writing, separate, ruthlessly, during the editing".

"It's solitary work," she added.

"Art as Yeats said, is a solitary man - or woman."

She is survived by two sons.

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