Deborah Harkness

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Deborah Harkness
Deborah Harkness CHF-Deborah-Harkness-046 crop.jpg
Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Occupation Scholar, novelist
Nationality American
Education Mount Holyoke College, Northwestern University, University of California at Davis
Genre Fantasy, historical fiction
Notable works A Discovery of Witches
Shadow of Night
The Book of Life

Deborah Harkness (born 1965) is an American scholar, novelist and wine enthusiast, best known as a historian and the author of the "All Souls" Trilogy which consists of the The New York Times best selling novel A Discovery of Witches and its sequels Shadow of Night and The Book of Life.

Early life[edit]

Born in 1965, Harkness grew up near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of an American-born father and a British-born mother.[1] She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College (B.A., 1986), Northwestern University (M.A., 1990), and the University of California, Davis (Ph.D., 1994).[2] Harkness also studied abroad at Oxford University. She is a well-regarded historian of science and medicine,[3] as well as having studied alchemy, magic and the occult.


Harkness is a professor of history and teaches European history and the history of science[4] at the University of Southern California.[5] She has published two works of historical non-fiction, John Dee's Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy and the End of Nature (1999) and The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution (2007).[5]

In 2011, Harkness published her first work of fiction, A Discovery of Witches. The first novel in the All Souls trilogy, A Discovery of Witches is a historical fiction novel that tells the story of a modern-day witch who inadvertently calls up an ancient enchanted manuscript at Oxford University's Bodleian Library[6] thereby attracting the unwelcome notice of a host of magical creatures who live among humans, including other witches, daemons, and a 1,500-year-old French vampire.[5] The novel debuted at number two on The New York Times Best Seller hardcover fiction list,[7] and has been sold in at least 34 countries.[8] The book was called "a sophisticated fairy tale for adults" by the San Antonio Express-News.[9] The second novel in the series, Shadow of Night, was published a year later, becoming a number one success on The New York Times Best Seller list.[10] The third novel in the series is called The Book of Life.[11] The book was published on July 15, 2014 in hardback, e-book, and audiobook in the US, UK, Canada, and Ireland.

On January 9, 2014, the United States front cover and a two page excerpt were released to the public on USA Today. On May 12, 2014, chapter 1 was released on Harkness' website.[12] Harkness is also the author of the award-winning wine blog, Good Wine Under $20.

Personal life[edit]

Harkness currently lives in Southern California where she teaches.[1]



All Souls Trilogy[edit]



Harkness' faculty profile on the University of Southern California's website lists the following honors and awards:[2]

  • Highly Commended, Longman-History Today Awards Book Prize, Spring 2009
  • Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Pfizer Award for Best Book in the History of Science, History of Science Society, Fall 2008
  • Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, John Best Snow Prize for Best Book in British Studies, North American Conference on British Studies, Fall 2008
  • Prize for Best Book, Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies, Spring 2008
  • Huntington Library Research Fellowship Recipient, National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, 2006–2007
  • Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient, John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 2004–2005
  • Residency at the National Humanities Center, National Humanities Center, John E. Sawyer Fellow, 2004–2005
  • NIH/NSF Career Development Award, National Science Foundation Senior Scholar's Award, 2001–2002
  • Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Derek Price Award for Best Article, History of Science Society, 1998
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Recipient, ACLS Fellowship, 1997–1998
  • Huntington Library Research Fellowship Recipient, NEH Fellowship, Huntington Library, 1997–1998
  • Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Nelson Prize for Best Article, Renaissance Society of America, 1997
  • Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education, 1989–1993
  • Fulbright Award, Fulbright Fellowship to the United Kingdom, 1991–1992


  1. ^ a b Timberg, Scott (April 10, 2011). "Deborah Harkness' 'A Discovery of Witches' started with airport bookstores". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Faculty Profile: Deborah Elizabeth Harkness". Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, University of Southern California. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  3. ^ Hernandez-Vogt, Persephone (February 24, 2011). "Discovery of a writer: alum pens a preternatural tale". The Mount Holyoke News. Archived from the original on February 24, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Deborah Harkness: The All Souls Trilogy." (February 10, 2014). <>
  5. ^ a b c Gressitt, Kit-Bacon (February 20, 2011). "SoCal scholar bounds into the supernatural". North County Times. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  6. ^ McGee, Celia (February 2011). "15 Books to Watch for in February 2011". Book Finder. p. 4. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Best Sellers". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. February 27, 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  8. ^ Pellegrino, Nicky (April 11, 2011). "Deborah Harkness: Once bitten ...". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  9. ^ Bennett, Steve (February 12, 2011). "A potent spell cast". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Best Sellers – Hardcover Fiction". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. July 29, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links[edit]