The Irish-born British writer Dame Iris Murdoch was both a philosopher and a novelist. Born on July 15, 1919, in Dublin, she studied philosophy at Oxford; her first published work would be a monograph on Jean-Paul Sartre published in 1953. Her first novel, Under the Net, soon followed in 1954. The author of twenty-seven works of fiction, her most notable novels include The Bell (1958), A Severed Head (1961), The Unicorn (1963), The Red and the Green (1965), and The Sea, the Sea (1978), which won the Booker Prize for Fiction, making Murdoch the first Irish-born winner of the prize. Her works of philosophy include 1970’s The Sovereignty of Good. In 1997, Murdoch was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and passed away in 1999; her husband, the literary critic John Bayley, wrote a book about the experience of caring for her that was adapted into the 2001 film Iris.