Sarah Pinborough

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Sarah Pinborough
Sarah Pinbough.jpg
Born 1972
Milton Keynes, England
Pen name Sarah Silverwood
Occupation Writer, teacher
Nationality English
Genre Horror & supernatural, fantasy, young adult

Sarah Pinborough is an English-born horror writer. Her works have been compared to those of Bentley Little, Richard Laymon and Dean Koontz.[1] She also writes fantasy novels for children under the name Sarah Silverwood. Pinborough tweets prolifically and has been described as one of Twitter's funniest female Tweeters.[2] She is a regular guest at genre conventions in England and internationally.[3] She was Mistress of Ceremonies at the controversial 2011 British Fantasy Society awards in Brighton in 2011.[4]


Pinborough was born in Buckinghamshire in 1972. Because of her father's career as a diplomat, much of Pinborough's early childhood was spent travelling in the Middle East. From the ages of eight to eighteen Pinborough attended boarding school, which she claims has influenced her writing.[5][citation needed]

Pinborough trained to be a secondary school teacher after a brief marriage,[6][7] while still writing her novels. She taught for three years at the Lord Grey School before moving onto Lea Manor High School in Luton. Pinborough also taught at Walton High, Milton Keynes afterwards.[8]

Pinborough's initial titles were published in America by Leisure Books. She was then invited by Jo Fletcher (publisher) to write for Gollancz Books for whom she has written the Dog-Faced Gods trilogy and her Young Adult titles as Sarah Silverwood.[9] Jo Fletcher Books is now a part of Quercus Publishing who have published Pinborough's later novels.

Whilst writing for Leisure Books she was also writing a crime novel called Scream Blue Murder, but this has never been published.[10]

Awards and Nominations[edit]

The Language of Dying: 2009 Shirley Jackson Award finalist and won the 2010 British Fantasy Award for Best Novella.[11]

"The Language of Dying is essentially a monologue – though really it is a one-sided dialogue, if such a thing exists – between the narrator, the middle child of five, and the family’s father, who is slowly dying from the lung cancer which wracks his entire body."[12]

"Our Man in the Sudan": 2009 World Fantasy Award finalist[13]


The Hidden.jpg


Leisure Books[edit]

Leisure Books are an American publisher. These titles titles are all from their Leisure Horror list.[14]

This is an end of the world novel where most of the population is wiped out by giant spiders that human women have given birth to.

A ghostly revenge novel

This is novel about a small town in America in supernatural peril of Biblical proportions.

This is a sequel to Breeding Ground. Pinborough's original proposal for this sequel would have been called The Brethren but this was rejected by the publisher as being too Sci-Fi for their list. The book as written is intended to be like a creature feature movie.[15]


Cast of the TV show Torchwood

Torchwood is a spin-off series from Doctor Who. These are TV tie-in novels and short stories in that shared world.

Pinborough has also written short stories for the Torchwood Magazine. These are:

  • Happy New Year Issue 20
  • Mend Me Issue 23

The Dog-Faced Gods series[edit]

Now called the Forgotten Gods Trilogy in the Ace Books reprint. The series has been optioned for a Television series.[16]

  1. A Matter of Blood (2010, Gollancz Books) (2013 Ace Books) ISBN 978-0425258460
  2. The Shadow of the Soul (2011, Gollancz Books) (2013 Ace Books) ISBN 978-0425258484
  3. The Chosen Seed (2012, Gollancz Books) (2013 Ace Books) ISBN 978-0425258507 [17]

The "Dog Faced Gods" series is set in an alternative world. The Britain of this world isn't a dystopia but it is merely a little crapier and harsher than ours. Jim Steel[18]

Sleeping Beauty by Gustave Dore

The Fairy Tale Series[edit]

Poison is a modern retelling of the Snow White story

Charm is a modern retelling of the Cinderella story

Beauty is a modern retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story

Other Novels[edit]

Mayhem is a supernatural murder mystery set in Victorian London and based around the actual events of the Thames Torso Murders.

Murder is the sequel to Mayhem

As Sarah Silverwood[edit]

As Sarah Silverwood, Sarah Pinborough writes fantasy fiction for the Young-adult fiction market

The Nowhere Chronicles[edit]

  1. The Double-edged Sword (2010, Gollancz) ISBN 978-1780620596
  2. The Traitor's Gate (2011, Gollancz) ISBN 978-1780620657
  3. The London Stone (2012, Gollancz) ISBN 978-1780620671

Short Stories[edit]

The original cast of New Tricks


  • In 2012, Pinborough wrote Old School Ties the second episode of the ninth series of the BBC TV police drama New Tricks.[23]
  • M (2013) World Productions/ITV Global Returnable Drama Series.
  • Fallow Ground (2012) World Productions Original 3-part drama.
  • Red Summer (2012) Blind Monkey Pictures Feature screenplay. Under option.


On 1 August 2012, it was announced that director Peter Medak had been attached to direct Cracked, a screenplay based on Pinborough's first novel The Hidden.[24]

Critical Reactions[edit]

  • Wisely, Pinborough opts to build suspense subtly, rather than bludgeon readers with horrific imagery or buckets of gore, giving this nicely executed, surprisingly moving ghost story an old-fashioned feel in the best possible sense. - Review of The Taken in Publisher's Weekly[25]
  • There are a lot of familiar elements here - small town in danger, ancient artefacts of power, with scripture and biblical beings co-opted into the mix...Pinborough deftly stage manages all of these favourite things, putting her own spin on the material and weaving a convincing back story that knits together scripture and mythology. - Review in Black Static of Tower Hill by Peter Tennant.[26]
  • There is plenty going on at street level. Troubled policeman, Cass, the core of the novel, is trying to solve a series of linked student suicides in what is a very good police procedural. What we have is a violent and dark novel that packs a wild set of ingredients between its covers. It wobbles occasionally (an omniscient violin playing tramp?) but it never falls. A remarkable achievement. - Review in the British Fantasy Society Journal of The Shadow of the Soul by Jim Steel[27]
  • It might have been subtitled "Fifty Shades of White". Or perhaps it could bear Mae West's classic line as a cover quote: "I used to be Snow White, but I drifted." It's a slim, undemanding read, but loads of fun and very saucy with it. - Review in the The Independent of Poison: 4 April 2013 by David Barnett [28]
  • "Charm" was a light and frothy concoction, entertaining and true to the source material but with a subtext dealing with how fairy stories distort our expectations of reality. - Review in Black Static of Charm by Peter Tennant.[29]
  • In this chilling exploration of madness and evil, Pinborough excels at summoning up the bleak spirit of Victorian London’s mean streets and those forced to fight for survival there. - Review of Mayhem in Publishers Weekly.[30]
  • But anyone who comes to this book with their expectations wide open will find a beautiful novel, short, sharp and told with painful honesty, which I would say is the product of a writer at the very top of her game, were it not evident from the quality of her prodigious output that Sarah Pinborough still has a way to go before she comes anywhere close to peaking. - Review in the The Independent of The Language of Dying: 18 December 2013 by David Barnett [31]
  • British author Pinborough manages to make this deeply disturbing sequel to 2013’s Mayhem even bleaker and more unsettling than its predecessor...The author’s ingenuity in weaving her macabre plot becomes fully evident by the powerful, jaw-dropping end, and she skilfully instils fear in the reader even with innocuous phrases. - Review of Murder in Publishers Weekly.[32]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Award Winner Returns Prize - The Guardian
  5. ^ Biography on Sarah's Homepage
  6. ^ Biography on Sarah Pinborough's Homepage
  7. ^ I've just realised that if I hadn't seen sense/got divorced today would have been my 14th wedding anniversary. Tweet 13.10.14
  8. ^ I rarely base characters on people I know, but I had worked at a school on quite a tough estate for a few years so that probably fed into it a bit. Interview in Project:Torchwood
  9. ^ Q & A with Sarah Pinbourough Black Static 16 April - May 2010, page 52
  10. ^ Crow's Nest Articles
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ World Fantasy Convention (2010). "Award Winners and Nominees". Retrieved 4 Feb 2011. 
  14. ^ When I was writing for Leisure that was more restrictive because they have a clear vision of their list.They are horror with a capital H and that is what their readers expect. Interview in 2010 in Black Static 16, page 54
  15. ^ Q & A with Sarah Pinbourough Black Static 16 April - May 2010, page 52
  16. ^
  17. ^ An Independent on Sunday Book of the Year 2012
  18. ^ British Fantasy Society Journal Autumn 2011 page 29
  19. ^ (2013). "Sarah Pinborough - The Language of Dying cover art and synopsis reveal". Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  20. ^ (2014). "Stay With Me by Sarah Pinborough cover art and synopsis". Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  21. ^ Black Static 20 Dec2010/Jan2011 page 10
  22. ^ See question 6 in Musings of the Monster Librarian
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Publisher's Weekly
  26. ^ Black Static 7 Oct/Nov 2008 page 29
  27. ^ BFS Journal Autumn 2011, page 29
  28. ^
  29. ^ Black Static 37 Nov/Dec 2013 page 92
  30. ^ Publishers Weekly
  31. ^
  32. ^ Publishers Weekly

External links[edit]