Deborah Harkness

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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
External audio
The Alchemist’s Experiment Takes Fire 1687 CHF fa 2000.001.276.JPG
“Science and the Supernatural in the 17th Century”, Deborah Harkness & Jim Voelkel, Science History Institute

Deborah Harkness (born 1965) is an American scholar, novelist and wine enthusiast, best known as a historian and as the author of the "All Souls" Trilogy, which consists of 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.[7][5] The novel debuted at number two on The New York Times Best Seller hardcover fiction list,[8] and has been sold in at least 34 countries.[9] The book was called "a sophisticated fairy tale for adults" by the San Antonio Express-News.[10] 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.[11] The third novel in the series is called The Book of Life.[12] The book was published on July 15, 2014 in hardback, e-book, and audiobook in the US, UK, Canada, and Ireland.

Harkness at book signing, August 2014

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.[13] Harkness is also the author of the award-winning wine blog, Good Wine Under $20.

Harkness released a companion book in May 2018 entitled The World of All Souls: The Complete Guide to A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy), and will be releasing a book in another series set in the same universe featuring secondary characters in The All Souls TrilogyTime's Convert, to be published September 2018. The book stars Marcus Whitmore, Matthew Clairmont's vampire son.[13]

Personal life[edit]

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



All Souls Trilogy[edit]


Journal articles[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 March 23, 2012. 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. Archived from the original on August 31, 2011. 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. ^ Meyer, Michal (Fall 2011- Winter 2012). "Facts and Fictions". Chemical Heritage Magazine. 29 (3): 40–41. Retrieved 26 March 2018.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ "Best Sellers". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. February 27, 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  9. ^ Pellegrino, Nicky (April 11, 2011). "Deborah Harkness: Once bitten ..." The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  10. ^ Bennett, Steve (February 12, 2011). "A potent spell cast". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Best Sellers – Hardcover Fiction". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. July 29, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Deborah Harkness". Retrieved 2018-03-14. 
  13. ^ a b "Deborah Harkness author of The All Souls Trilogy official website". Deborah Harkness. Retrieved 2018-03-14. 
  14. ^ Kavey, Allison (Summer 2008). "London Calling". Chemical Heritage Magazine. 26 (2): 44. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 

External links[edit]