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Fay Weldon portrait unveiling – Bath Spa University

Portrait unveiled to commemorate celebrated author and Bath Spa Professor Fay Weldon

Monday, 9 October, 2023

On Thursday 5 October the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sue Rigby, unveiled a portrait of the late Fay Weldon (1931-2023), formerly Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, who died earlier this year.  

The portrait was painted by the literary critic, memoirist, and oil painter, Gavin Cologne-Brookes, Emeritus Professor at Bath Spa University. The portrait features a head-and-shoulders depiction of Fay at the Corsham Court campus, where she spent much of her Bath Spa professorial career. It was commissioned for the University's art collection and will be displayed in Main House at Newton Park campus.   

A portrait of Fay Weldon

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Professor John Strachan, who introduced the event, said: 

“We are glad to welcome Gavin's portrait to the University's art collection. It captures Fay's wit, geniality and sense of mischief very well. Fay was a wonderful novelist, a fine colleague, and a popular teacher who was much loved by her students.” 

Speaking about Professor Weldon’s legacy, Celia Brayfield, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, said: 

“As a tutor, Fay had an extraordinary instinct for every student’s vision and could draw out and respond to the essence of what they wanted to do, with the result that they left her office with radiant confidence. You can’t quantify the impact of a teacher like Fay; there are no metrics to measure her legacy.” 

Alongside receiving an Honorary Degree from Bath Spa University in 1999, Professor Weldon was awarded Emeritus status by the University after she spent nine years passing on her wisdom to aspiring writers as a Creative Writing professor. 

Professor Weldon published her first novel, The Fat Woman’s Joke, in 1967. Her work includes over thirty novels, seven collections of short stories, several children's books, non-fiction books, magazine articles and a number of plays written for television, radio and the stage, including the pilot episode for the television series Upstairs, Downstairs. 

As a respected writer in the media sphere, Professor Weldon also wrote for The Times, The Guardian, The Mail on Sunday and The New Statesman.

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