Sarah Waters, writer, Neyland, Pembroke, Pembrokeshire
"We are indeed amused" - With painstaking research, humour and good old fashioned story telling Sarah has brought the Victorians back to life. She's introduced a whole new generation to this fascinating period with her first three books ‘Tipping the Velvet’, ‘Affinity’ and ‘Fingersmith’. Sarah was born in Neyland, Pembrokeshire in 1966, and went to school there before going to university.
Victorian’s, why this period?
Sarah says "I got particularly interested in it after I did some academic work in the early '90s, in which I looked, amongst other things, at nineteenth-century sexual underworlds". Colourful adult themes have become a hallmark of her work. Her fourth book 'The Night Watch' steps away from the Victorians but remains a period piece, this time landing us in war torn Britain of the 1940's.
Sarah gained her PhD in English Literature at Canterbury, her thesis on lesbian historical fiction became the catalyst for her career as a novelist. ‘Tipping the Velvet’, her first novel was published in 1998 and demonstrated her talent beautifully. The Daily Telegraph declared 'This could be the most important debut of its kind since that of Jeanette Winterson'. By 2002 Andrew Davies had adapted it for BBC drama.
She followed this with ‘Affinity’ a year later winning the Somerset Maugham Prize and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. ‘Affinity’ also saw her gain nominations for the Welsh Book of the Year Award 2000 and the Mail on Sunday John Llewelyn Rhys Prize. Not bad for a second effort you’ll agree!
In 2002 ‘Fingersmith’, her third novel, was nominated for the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize. It won the CWA Historical Dagger prize for historical crime fiction and was picked more than any other novel as a ‘Book of the Year 2002’.
Connection: Born (1966) and raised in Neyland, Pembrokeshire.
Named 'Author of the Year' at the 2003 british book awards. She also won a 1999 'Betty Trask Award' for 'Tipping the Velvet'.