LAKE WORTH, FL (CelebrityAccess) – Martin Amis, author of the novels Money, London Fields, and the memoir Experience, died Saturday (May 20) at his home in Lake Worth, FL. His death was confirmed by his wife, Isabel Fonseca, who stated the cause of death as oesophageal cancer. He was 73.
Born Martin Louis Amis in Oxford in 1949, he was the son of novelist and poet Sir Kingsley Amis. However, his novelist stepmother, Elizabeth Jane Howard, is who piqued his interest in literature – after handing him a copy of Jane Austen. Of which Amis has often been named as his earliest influence.
He followed in his father’s profession, graduating from Oxford University and penning his first novel, The Rachel Papers, in 1973. It follows the life of a teenage boy in London before college and, like his father before him, won the Somerset Maugham Award for fiction.
A year later, the dark comedy book Dead Babies was published. He worked as the literary editor of the New Statesman between 1977-1979 and published his third novel, Success.
Amis was among a group of novelists, including Ian McEwan, Julian Barnes and Salman Rushdie, whose work helped define the British literary arena in the ’80s—often compared to his father, Kinglsey, who won the Booker Prize in 1986 for The Old Devils. The younger Amis never won the Booker but was shortlisted for his 1991 book Time’s Arrow and longlisted in 2003 for the novel Yellow Dog.
Amis, in his memoir Experience, published in 2000, touches on the separation from his first wife, American academic Antonia Phillips, the mother of his two sons. He also describes the discovery that he was the father of a 17-old teenager, Delilah Seale, and touches on the life of his cousin, Lucy Partington, who Rosemary and Fred West murdered.
Amis then married American-Uruguayan writer Isabel Fonseca in 1996 and had two daughters. Fonseca debuted her first novel, Attachment, in 2009.
Amis’s last book, 2020’s Inside Story, was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle award for fiction. His publisher, Vintage Books, issued a statement regarding his passing. “We are devastated at the death of our author and friend, Martin Amis: novelist, essayist, memoirist, critic, stylist supreme.
“It has been a profound privilege and pleasure to be his publisher; first as Jonathan Cape in 1973, with his explosive debut, The Rachel Papers; then as part of Penguin Random House and Vintage, up to and including his most recent book, 2020’s Inside Story.”
His UK editor, Michal Shavit, said: “It’s hard to imagine a world without Martin Amis. He was the king – a stylist extraordinaire, super cool, a brilliantly witty, erudite and fearless writer, and a truly wonderful man.
“He has been so important and formative for so many readers and writers over the last half-century. Every time he published a new book, it was an event. He will be remembered as one of the greatest writers of his time, and his books will stand the test of time alongside some of his favorite writers: Saul Bellow, John Updike, and Vladimir Nabokov.”
The Twitter account of the Booker Prize posted: “We are saddened to hear that Martin Amis, one of the most acclaimed and discussed novelists of the past 50 years, has died. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
His wife, children and grandchildren survive Amis.