S. J. Parris is the pseudonym of author and journalist Stephanie Merritt.
Parris first became fascinated by the rich history of Tudor England and Renaissance Europe while researching a paper as a student at Cambridge. Since then, her interest has grown and led her to create this series of historical thrillers featuring Giordano Bruno.
Parris has worked as a critic and feature writer for a variety of newspapers and magazines, as well as radio and television shows. She currently writes for the Observer and the Guardian and is the author of six books. She has one son.
S.J. Parris's website
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S.J. Parris writes about her inspiration and research for Heresy
I first encountered the character of Giordano Bruno when I was a student at the University of Cambridge writing a thesis about the influence of occult philosophy on Renaissance literature. I was immediately captivated by his multi-faceted career (philosopher, proto-scientist, magician and poet) and the drama of his life during years of exile on the run from the Inquisition around the courts of Europe. All the accounts I read of him suggested that he was extremely charismatic, the sort of person everyone wanted at their dinner parties, and that he possessed the ability to offend and charm in equal measurein the course of a few years he went from fugitive heretic to close friend and confidant of kings and courtiers. But he was also a man fiercely committed to his ideas, even when that meant deliberately provoking the received wisdom of the day and courting a death sentence from the Pope.
At the time I thought Bruno would make an intriguing character for a novel, but other ideas intervened and for a while I forgot about him. More than ten years later, I was reading about the Wars of Religion in the late 16th century and came across his name again in a book that ...
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