Sarah Waters: Biography

Sarah Waters

21 jul 1966

Sarah Waters is a Welsh author born in 1966 in Neyland, Pembrokeshire. Her father was an oil engineer who worked in refineries. Her mother was a full time housewife and mother to her and her sister. She has described her childhood as being ‘safe and nurturing’. In interviews she has described an environment in which she was encouraged to dream, imagine and invent. She began writing short stories and poems at a very young age, although she says that she didn’t always know that she was going to be an author.

Waters has a PhD in English Literature, and she specialised in the representations of homosexuality in literature from 1870 onwards. Her thesis required her to explore 19th and 10th century pornography, which can be seen as an influence in some of her novels. She has a keen interest in the Victorian age, so also draws on Dickens and the Bronte sisters for her inspiration. Some similarities can be drawn between Waters’ novels and other post-modernist novelists with clear Victorian influence such as John Fowles and A.S. Byatt.

In total, Sarah Waters has written 6 novels, all of which have gone on to be well regarded in literary circles. Her first published novel, Tipping The Velvet, won the Bettty Trask Award in 1998. Her other novels have earned her three nominations on the shortlist for the prestigious Man Booker Prize as well as other extremely covetous literary awards. In 2003, Waters was given a place on Granta’s list of ‘Best of Young British Novelists’ and she also went on to win the Waterstones Author of the Year Award. She has had two of her novels adapted for stage performances, and has also co-written an original play called The Frozen Scream with Christopher Green.