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Sarah Waters, writer, Neyland, Pembroke, Pembrokeshire

sarah watersSarah Waters

"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.
click here for more info tipping the velvet
this three-part bbc production chronicles with relish the story of nan astley (rachael stirling, the ravishing image of her mother, diana rigg), barely 18, and certain that life holds more for her than her oyster girl's existence. "you'll meet someone who'll have your head spinning and your legs turning to jelly", her sister promises. that someone surprisingly turns out to be "gay and bold" kitty butler (keeley hawes), a music-hall entertainer with whom nan falls instantly, and swooningly, in love.

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Named 'Author of the Year' at the 2003 british book awards. She also won a 1999 'Betty Trask Award' for 'Tipping the Velvet'.

click here for more info fingersmith
a petty thief is instructed to carry out a scam which will defraud a wealthy young lady of her inheritance. the plan is thrown into turmoil, however, when the two women meet and fall in love with one another.

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click here for more info the night watch
the night watch moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked out streets, illicit liaisons, sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, the "night watch" is the work of a truly brilliant and compelling storyteller. this is the story of four londoners - three women and a young man with a past, drawn with absolute truth and intimacy. kay, who drove an ambulance during the war and lived life at full throttle, now dresses in mannish clothes and wanders the streets with a restless hunger, searching...helen, clever, sweet, much-loved, harbours a painful secret...viv, glamour girl, is stubbornly, even foolishly loyal, to her soldier lover duncan, an apparent innocent, has had his own demons to fight during the war. their lives, and their secrets connect in sometimes startling ways. war leads to strange alliances...tender, tragic and beautifully poignant, set against the backdrop of feats of heroism both epic and ordinary, here is a novel of relationships that offers up subtle surprises and twists. "the night watch" is thrilling. it is a towering achievement.

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