Mary Sharratt biography

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Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt Biography

Mary Sharratt's explorations into the hidden histories of Renaissance women compelled her to write her most recent work, The Dark Lady's Mask (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2016), based on the dramatic life of the ground-breaking poet, Aemilia Bassano Lanier.

Born in Minnesota, Mary now lives with her Belgian husband in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, the setting for her acclaimed novel, Daughters of the Witching Hill, which recasts the Pendle Witches of 1612 in their historical context as cunning folk and healers.

Previously she lived for twelve years in Germany. This, along with her interest in sacred music and herbal medicine, inspired her to write her award-winning Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard Von Bingen, which explores the dramatic life of the 12th century Benedictine abbess, composer, polymath, and powerfrau.

Winner of the 2013 Nautilus Gold Award, the 2005 WILLA Literary Award, and a Minnesota Book Award Finalist, Mary has also written the novels Summit Avenue, The Real MinervaThe Vanishing Point, and co-edited the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, which celebrates female anti-heroes–strong women who break all the rules. Her short fiction has been published in Twin Cities Noir and elsewhere.

Her newest novel Ecstasy, exploring the life of one of the most intriguing women of turn-of-the-century Vienna, will be published on April 10, 2018.

Mary's articles and essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Publisher's Weekly, Minnesota Magazine, and Historical Novels Review. When she isn't writing, she's usually riding her spirited Welsh mare through the Lancashire countryside.

Mary Sharratt's website

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Interview

Mary Sharratt explains the history behind her novel, Daughters of the Witching Hill, set in early 17th century England.

In bleak midwinter 2002, I moved to rural Lancashire, in northern England, an incongruous place for an American expat. The first months were so oppressively dark, I felt I was trapped inside some claustrophobic gothic novel. But then came spring in a tide of bluebells and hawthorn. The wild Pennine landscape cast its spell on me.

Pendle HillI live at the foot of Pendle Hill, famous throughout the world as the place where George Fox received his vision that moved him to found the Quaker religion in 1652. But Pendle is also steeped in its legends of the Lancashire Witches.

In 1612, seven women and two men from Pendle Forest were hanged for witchcraft. The most notorious of the accused, Bess Southerns, aka Old Demdike, cheated the hangman by dying in prison. This is how Thomas Potts describes her in The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster:

She was a very old woman, about the age of Foure-score yeares, and had been a Witch for fiftie yeares. Shee dwelt in the Forrest of Pendle, a vast place, fitte for her profession: What shee committed in her time, no man knowes ... Shee was a generall agent for the Devill in all these partes: no man escaped her, or her Furies.

book jacketOnce I read this, I fell in ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Mary Sharratt at BookBrowse
Ecstasy jacket The Dark Lady's Mask jacket Illuminations jacket Daughters of the Witching Hill jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Mary Sharratt but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

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    If you enjoyed:
    Illuminations

    Try:
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    by Melanie Benjamin

  • Geraldine Brooks

    Geraldine Brooks

    Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, and attended Bethlehem College Ashfield and the University of Sydney. She worked as a reporter for The Sydney ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Daughters of the Witching Hill

    Try:
    Year of Wonders
    by Geraldine Brooks

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