The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens – The First Woman to Win the Booker Prize
Play • 39 min

In 1970, when the Booker Prize was still in its infancy (its second year running, in fact), the prize was awarded to Bernice Rubens. Rubens was the first woman to win the award and is still the only Welsh person to ever win the prize. 2023 marks the centenary of Rubens' birth so, this week, we're taking a closer look at The Elected Member – a piercing novel that explores what happens to a respectable, close-knit Jewish family when their prodigious son becomes a middle-aged drug addict.

In this episode Jo and James:

  • Ponder the weight of being the eldest child
  • Share a brief biography of Bernice Rubens
  • Give a slightly spoiler-y summary of The Elected Member
  • Discuss whether parental expectation can turn from encouragement to abuse
  • Consider how love can be damaging
  • Wonder why Bernice Rubens has fallen off the radar
  • Decide who should read The Elected Member

Reading list:

A full transcript of the episode is available at our website.

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