Affinity (novel)

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First edition (p/b)
AuthorSarah Waters
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreHistorical fiction
Publication date
Media typePrint (Paperback)

Affinity is a 1999 historical fiction novel by Sarah Waters. It is the author's second novel, following Tipping the Velvet, and followed by Fingersmith.

Plot summary[edit]

Margaret Prior (also called "Peggy" and "Aurora"), an unmarried woman from an upper-class family, visits the Millbank Prison in 1870s Victorian-era England. The protagonist is an overall unhappy person, recovering from her father's death and her subsequent suicide attempt, and struggling with her lack of power living at home with her over-involved mother despite being almost 30. She becomes a "Lady Visitor" of the prison, hoping to escape her troubles and be a guiding figure in the lives of the female prisoners. As she peers through a flap in the door, entranced by the sight of a young woman with a flower, she is reminded of a Carlo Crivelli painting. Of all the prisoners, she is most fascinated by this woman, who she learns is Selina Dawes, medium of spirits.


  • Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award (shortlist), 2000
  • Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian and Gay Fiction, 2000
  • Lambda Literary Award for Fiction (shortlist), 2000
  • Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (shortlist), 2000
  • Somerset Maugham Award, 2000
  • Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, 2000


The novel was adapted into a screenplay by Andrew Davies. A feature film based on Davies' adaptation of Affinity premiered on 19 June 2008 at the opening night of Frameline, the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, at the Castro Theater.[1][2]

The film was first shown on ITV1 in the United Kingdom on 28 December 2008.



Year Language Title
2013 Czech Náklonnost
2012 Korea 끌림
2009 Chinese 半身
2006 Dutch Affiniteit
2006 Hebrew זרעים של חיבה
2005 Swedish Livstråden
2005 Taiwan 華麗的邪惡
2004 French Affinités
2004 Italian Affinità
2004 Russian Нить, сотканная из тьмы (издательство: Росмэн-Пресс)
2004 Polish Niebanalna więź
2002 German Selinas Geister