For sheer sharpness and elegance of mind, I have never encountered anyone to match the art historian and novelist Anita Brookner. I used to sit next to her on a tedious committee otherwise stuffed with blowhard civil servants: the way she could cut through their pompous waffle with a single pithy point was awe-inspiring. 'Idiotic men!' she would mutter furiously under her breath when the meeting was over.
[She left the bulk of her estate to] Médecins Sans Frontières, the no-nonsense charity that sends doctors to war‑torn areas. There was nothing sentimental about Anita, but her kindness ran as deep as her intelligence.