James Morrow biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

James Morrow
David Tait

James Morrow

James Morrow Biography

Born in Philadelphia in 1947, James Morrow spent his teenage years in Hillside Cemetery, not far from Philadelphia. After receiving degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University, Morrow began to produce prose fiction. His first such endeavor, The Wine of Violence, was called “the best SF novel published in English in the last ten years” by the American Book Review. He followed this with The Continent of Lies. Morrow's breakout novel was a satire on the nuclear arms race, This Is the Way the World Ends, which became a Nebula Award nominee and the BBC’s choice as the best SF novel of the year. His next dark comedy, Only Begotten Daughter, shared the 1991 World Fantasy Award with Ellen Kushner’s Thomas the Rhymer. Throughout the 1990s Morrow worked on the Godhead Trilogy: Towing Jehovah, Blameless in Abaddon, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; and The Eternal Footman. Morrow then wrote the historical novels The Last Witchfinder, and its sequel, The Philosopher’s Apprentice. Morrow's contributions in short fiction also include a Nebula Award–winning story “The Deluge,” published in Bible Stories for Adults; the periodically produced one-act play “The Zombies of Montrose,” published in The Cat’s Pajamas; and the Nebula Award–winning novella, City of Truth.

James Morrow makes his home in State College, Pennsylvania with his wife and son.

James Morrow's website

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Interview

James Morrow talks about The Last Witchfinder (a work of historical fiction set in the 17th century) and some of the key people and themes in the novel.

Book reviewers have categorized your previous novels as wild Vonnegutian satires full of fantastical and even surrealistic events. Why this sudden leap into straight historical fiction?
The leap was a long time coming. About twenty years ago I had a mind-boggling encounter with a single sentence in Masks of the Universe, a history of science by the physicist-astronomer Edward Harrison. At one point Harrison asserts that the “witch universe,” the zeitgeist of the late Renaissance, would have “destroyed European society but for the intervention of science.” And I said to myself, “What a great subject for a novel!” Even if Harrison was overstating the case, I simply had to explore that astonishing idea, the near destruction of a civilization by its own theology.

So you spent twenty years researching and writing The Last Witchfinder? You have a long attention span.
Not the past twenty years, no. I kept deferring the project, daunted by its scope, and composed other sorts of fiction instead. But I never stopped thinking about Harrison’s riveting sentence, and then about eight years ago I took the plunge and committed myself to writing a magnum opus about the shift from the “witch ...

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Books by this Author

Books by James Morrow at BookBrowse
Galapagos Regained jacket The Madonna and the Starship jacket Shambling Towards Hiroshima jacket The Philosopher's Apprentice jacket
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