Sharon Kay Penman: Biography

Sharon Kay Penman

13 aug 1945

Sharon Kay Penman is an American author of historical fiction, born in New York City in 1945. She was raised in New Jersey, until she left home to study at the University of Texas. It was while she was studying that she wrote her first book, The Sunne in Splendour, recounting the life of Richard III. This first finished manuscript was over 400 pages long and was tragically stolen from her car. This made her unable to write for the next few years as she couldn’t bring herself to finish another book.

She eventually rewrote the book, and in the end it was over 900 pages long and took her 12 years to write. She is most well known for her trilogy of novels surrounding the Welsh Princes and her Plantagenet series of novels.

Penman moved to Wales to begin work on her second book, Here Be Dragons, before moving back to New Jersey. All of her novels are set in the Middle Ages and many are concerned with the role that women had to play in society during this period of history. Women in Wales during the Middle Ages had much more independence than those living in England. All of her novels have been researched incredibly thoroughly and recount what life would have been like during medieval times, but with a narrative structure.

Sharon Penman lives in New Jersey, but she has a second home in Wales. She has said that the history of Wales is her greatest inspiration and provides much of the material for her writing.