Mary Sharratt biography

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Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt Biography

Author Mary Sharratt is on a mission to write women back into history. Originally from Minnesota, Mary now lives in Portugal, near the beautiful medieval town of Obidos on the Silver Coast.

Her latest novel Revelations, published April 2021, is drawn from the colorful life of Margery Kempe, 15th century mystic, intrepid world traveler, and author of the first autobiography in the English language.

Her 2018 novel Ecstasy, drawn from the dramatic life of composer and life artist Alma Schindler Mahler, has been praised by NPR as "historical fiction at its best."

Mary's explorations into the hidden histories of Renaissance women compelled her to write The Dark Lady's Mask, based on the story of the ground-breaking poet, Aemilia Bassano Lanier.

Mary lived for eighteen years 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 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 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 Minerva, The 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.

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

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 love. I had to write...

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Books by this Author

Books by Mary Sharratt at BookBrowse
Revelations jacket Ecstasy jacket The Dark Lady's Mask jacket Illuminations 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

  • Melanie Benjamin

    Melanie Benjamin

    Melanie Benjamin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. An avid reader all her life - as a child, she was the proud winner, several years running, of the summer reading program at her local library - she still firmly believes ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Illuminations

    Try:
    The Aviator's Wife
    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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