Joanne Harris biography

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Joanne Harris
Photo: Paul Barker

Joanne Harris

Joanne Harris Biography

Joanne Harris was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire on July 3, 1964, her mother is French, her father English.  She was educated at Wakefield Girls' High and Barnsley Sixth Form College, and then read Modern and Mediaeval Languages at Saint Catharine's College, Cambridge.  After a number of heroic career failures (rock musician, herbalist, accountant) she succumbed to genetic pressure and became a French teacher for 12 years at a boys' grammar school in Leeds, and later taught a French Literature course at Sheffield University. 

Her first novel, The Evil Seed, was published in 1989, although she strongly advises against reading it.  Since then she has written Sleep, Pale Sister (1993); Chocolat (1999); Blackberry Wine (2000); Five Quarters of the Orange (2001), Coastliners (2002), Holy Fools (2003), Jigs and Reels (2004), Gentlemen and Players (2005), The French Market (2005), The Lollipop Shoes (2007), Runemarks (2008), Blueeyedboy (2010), and a cookbook-memoir My French Kitchen (2002).  Her books have been published in 40 countries and have won a number of British and international awards. 

She was awarded an honorary D.Lit (Doctor of Letters) by the University of Huddersfield in 2003 and also by the University of Sheffield in 2004.

According to her website her hobbies include "mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion of the system, although she also enjoys obfuscation, sleaze, rebellion, witchcraft, armed robbery, tea and biscuits. She is not above bribery and would not necessarily refuse an offer involving exotic travel, champagne or yellow diamonds from Graff. She plays bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16, is currently studying Old Norse and lives with her husband Kevin and her daughter Anouchka, about 15 miles from the place she was born."

Joanne Harris's website

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Interview

Joanne Harris discusses Gentlemen & Players and her work in general.

Every time I bring out a new book, I’ve noticed the same set of conflicting reactions from some elements of the Press. One faction inevitably complains about how very different the present book is from the previous one (as if in resentment at my having escaped the Sisyphean fate of rolling the same book uphill throughout eternity), while the opposing faction sets out to prove how all of my books are exactly the same. Some reviewers are so sure of their ability to predict where I’m going next that they barely bother to glance at the book at all, with embarrassing results (check out the journalist who described Coastliners as “another of Harris’ sweeping historical epics”, or the one who based her entire review of Jigs & Reels on a single story and wrote how “once more, food and France play a leading role in this feelgood confection.”)

You may already know that I don’t like expectations. You may also be aware of how I feel about being pushed, stamped, marked, labelled, briefed, debriefed and numbered.

That’s why I published Jigs & Reels; to escape the box; to explore uncharted space; to prove that all roads do not necessarily lead to France, or food, ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Joanne Harris at BookBrowse
Peaches for Father Francis jacket The Girl with No Shadow jacket Runemarks jacket Gentlemen and Players jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Joanne Harris 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.
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  • Diana Abu-Jaber

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    Diana Abu-Jaber is the author of several novels, including Arabian Jazz, Crescent, and Birds of Paradise. Crescent was awarded the 2004 PEN Center USA Award for Literary Fiction and the Before Columbus Foundation's American ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Five Quarters of The Orange

    Try:
    Crescent
    by Diana Abu-Jaber

  • Boris Akunin

    Boris Akunin

    Boris Akunin is the pen name of Grigory Chkhartishvili, who was born in the Republic of Georgia in 1956. A philologist, critic, essayist, and translator of Japanese, Akunin published his first detective stories in 1998 and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Gentlemen and Players

    Try:
    Murder on the Leviathan
    by Boris Akunin

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