Bestselling British Author Andrea Levy Dies of Cancer at 62

Leila Slimani portrait

Leila Slimani portrait

Her fourth novel "Small Island", the story of Jamaican immigrants who start a new life in post-war Britain, won a series of awards.

She also wrote The Long Song, in 2010, which was nominated for the Booker Prize and was adapted by BBC One a year ago with Sir Lenny Henry in a starring role.

Levy had been suffering from cancer, Headline Publishing Group added. Her father came to Britain on the HMT Empire Windrush in 1948, with her mother following afterwards.

She was also known for "The Long Song" and other books.

The 2010 novel was nominated for the Booker Prize and was adapted by BBC One past year. "She was amusing, had attitude and was immensely smart", said Lenny Henry, a board member at the theatre and himself the son of Jamaican immigrants.

Few British writers explored the complex questions of identity for children of the Windrush generation like Andrea Levy.

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Levy, who was born in London in 1956, did not begin writing until she was in her mid-30s after completing a creative writing course.

She had her first novel, Every Light In The House Burnin', published in 1994, followed by 1996's Never Far From Nowhere and Fruit Of The Lemon in 1999.

The novel was praised for its compelling, intertwined tales of Jamaicans who moved from their own small island to Britain, and the Britons in whose home they lodged.

Writing on Twitter, playwright and commentator Bonnie Greer recalled being sent a copy of Small Island to review and recognising it as "a masterpiece".

Telling the story of Jamaicans and Londoners involved in the Second World War, the 2004 novel was adapted into a BBC drama starring Naomie Harris and Ruth Wilson.

The much-loved work is also being adapted for the stage by the National Theatre. Our thoughts are with Andrea's husband, Bill, and her family'. "I miss her", Levy's long-time editor, Jane Morpeth, told PA.

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