Beryl Bainbridge

“Beryl Bainbridge has writers’ block. (You’d think, wouldn’t you, that after 17 novels she’d have got the hang of it?) The problem, it seems, has been the title. It has taken her two years to get it right. For a while it was called The Might Have Been: a perfectly good title; nicely intriguing, with a hint of her trademark wry humour. But she wasn’t happy with it. So the rest of the book had to wait until she was.” Debbie Taylor


Here are some titles of her novels 

The Girl with the Polka Dot Dress

The Dressmaker

An Awfully Big Adventure

Every Man for Himself 

A Quiet Life

A Weekend with Claude 

” I don’t mind working in a bit of clutter. It’s your mind that has to be clear.”

Writers' rooms: Beryl Bainbridge

Photographer: Eamonn Mccabe

For those of you who want to know more about this five time shortlisted for the Booker Prize novelist The Paris Review has a wonderful interview with Beryl Brainbridge.

Go to Lovereading for short descriptions of her novels.

Also make sure to check out mslexia magazine for more on Berly Brainbridge and her writing process. And while you’re there you might want to browse the magazine. It’s pretty awesome:)

 What are your thoughts on her book titles?

How much does a title influence whether you’ll pick up a book or not? 

19 thoughts on “Beryl Bainbridge

  1. I probably don’t pay as much attention to a book’s title as I do its cover, but every now and then a title jumps out at me so much, I have to investigate further. Such was the case with ‘The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.’ Loved that title, and fortunately, I liked the book, too. 🙂


  2. I think 2 of them sound boring. One’s a cliche. The other 3 strike my as being interesting enough to flip through the book. I wish I thought better about those titles but I don’t.

    I’m struggling with the title of my writing project but it’s still early in the entire process. I’m hoping something better than what I have now will pop into my head.


  3. The title of a book, and it’s cover might get my attention, but it’s usually the blurb or the peek inside that helps make the decision to buy. I’m not a huge fan of stories written in first person, so that’s usually the first thing I check for.


  4. Good article at the link – thanks, Carol. From personal experience and from what little I’ve read on the topic, the title is very important. It should be at least somewhat intriguing, to pique a potential reader’s interest in the book.

    I did spend some months before deciding upon the title for my first book. Brainbridge’s title “The Dressmaker” appeals to me, whereas “A Weekend With Claude” does not, really. In the eye of the beholder, perhaps.


    • Yes, in the eye of the beholder. I’ve changed the title of the book I’m working on a few times. I always start with a working title. I would never stop writing though if I didn’t have the right title. The title for me comes while writing the book.

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂
      Have a happy weekend.


  5. Fascinating… I am with her in the naming of something is so important. I read somewhere that a bestseller can be determined by the title of a book. Hearing how she could spend forever on just a few words is comforting. Sometimes I find that it’s just those last few words that take the most time.


    • Thanks for your comment. I like what you said about the writing holding your attention. There are so many books to read that when I pick up a book that doesn’t maintain my interest I go on to another. I have no guilt about not finishing a book or going to the ending before i finish it , or not 🙂
      Enjoy your weekend.


      • I agree completely. I used to finish every book I started. Now I want to get a return on my investment of time. If I’m not enjoying it, I set it aside and turn to another.


  6. The titles are simple, seemingly trite, not so much jumping at you but drawing the necessary attention.

    But well, as the cliche goes…. don’t judge a book by its cover.


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