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Alumnae > Alumnae News > Celebrating Iris Murdoch

Celebrating Iris Murdoch

This year marks the centenary of novelist and philosopher Dame Iris Murdoch who attended Badminton School from 1932-1938. We are proud to be celebrating this extraordinary woman and her work.
Iris Murdoch with Ann Leech and friend
Iris Murdoch with Ann Leech and friend
Dame Iris Murdoch is one of Britain's most famous novelists. In 2008 the Times newspaper ranked her 12th in a list of 50 of the most important British writers since 1945.  She is also an Old Badmintonian, she started at the School in 1932 and left in 1938 to go to Oxford on a scholarship to study Philosophy where she eventually returned to teach.

Her body of work is astonishing having written 26 novels in a space of 40 years.  Her first novel, published in 1978 is called "the Sea, The Sea" and won the Booker Prize for that year.

Her time at Badminton School was equally full.  She was involved in a huge range of extra curricular activities, she played hockey and lacrosse, attended a League of Nations conference in Geneva, led many debating and literary clubs and edited an anthology of poetry which was published and sold in support of Chinese war victims.

It is really important that we as members of the Badminton Community honour her memory with the Iris Murdoch Creative Writing Competition every year but also that we celebrate what would have been her one hundreth birthday with a special day of lectures and workshops on Thursday 3rd October.  The day culminates in a public lecture which is open to all.  More information can be found at

Iris Murdoch was a brilliant thinker and writer – one of the smartest in her generation.  But perhaps more importantly she was also someone who was deeply interested in questions of right and wrong, and of what it means to be a good person –her husband, John Bayley, clearly felt that she was, not only a great writer, but a good person and that this quality of human goodness shone through right up unto the end of her life –perhaps this was her most important achievement of all


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