Novelist and former Guardian journalist Susie Steiner dies aged 51 | Books

Novelist and former Guardian journalist Susie Steiner, known for the detective series Manon Bradshaw, has died aged 51.

A tweet from her account on Sunday said: “Susie died yesterday after being diagnosed with a brain tumor three years ago. She lived with her illness with courage and good humor. She was much loved and will be sorely missed.”

Steiner grew up in North London and studied English at university. She trained as a journalist and worked for newspapers for 20 years.

She joined The Guardian in 2001, where she was a staff writer and editor for 11 years, specializing in lifestyle features. After her departure, she continued to contribute as a freelancer. She also worked for the Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Evening Standard.

Her debut novel, Homecoming, was published by Faber & Faber in 2013 to critical acclaim. But it was her second, the literary crime novel Missing, Presumed, which Detective Manon Bradshaw suggested and saw her make it onto the bestseller lists. The book was nominated for the Theakston crime novel of the year award.

The sequel, Persons Unknown, also received widespread acclaim and was long-listed for the Theakston’s. The third in the Manon trilogy, Remain Silent was published in 2020.

Philip Pullman described the Manon Bradshaw novels as “police procedurals with real imagination and heart and a wonderful lightness of style and humor”.

Steiner wrote extensively about losing her sight to retinitis pigmentosa, or RP – a hereditary disease – and was registered as completely blind six months after her “lifelong dream came true” when her first novel sold at a publishing auction.

In May 2019 she was diagnosed with a brain tumor – grade 4 glioblastoma – and in June 2020 she wrote in the Guardian about her experience with treatment for the disease during the lockdown, describing how books had been her ‘lifeline’.

“It was oddly easier to cope with my illness during the lockdown as I am not the only one whose life is on hold, not the only one terrified of dying,” she wrote.

Steiner lived in London with her husband and two young sons.

Her agent Sarah Ballard said, “Susie’s glorious talent as a writer was rooted in her deep appreciation for the undercurrents of human nature. A small domestic exchange can turn into something magical, heartbreaking or hilarious, as she said.

“Her extraordinary insight has made her not only an acclaimed and best-selling author, but also a generous and sharply funny friend who will be missed by all who knew her. It also made her a passionately considerate, considerate mother to her two sons, who, along with her husband, Tom, were always the center of her world.

“We are heartbroken for their loss, and for us, and for the absence of the work she intended to write. At the same time, we are so grateful that she left her voice with us in the form of her four exceptional novels.”

Her publisher, Suzie Dooré, said: “Susie was an extraordinary person and a wonderful writer. Personally, I’m proud to have counted her as a friend as well, and I will always remember and cherish her quick wit and brutal honesty, both qualities she was able to pass on to her series character Manon Bradshaw.

“A train journey to a festival with Susie guaranteed hilarity, oversharing, Percy Pigs and mini bottles of wine. She was truly unique, full of warmth and incredibly observant.”

Louise Doughty, the author of Apple Tree Yard, said on Twitter: “I’m so sad to hear this – we read together when she was published by Faber and she was funny, kind and talented.”

Leave a Comment