Morgan Llywelyn

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Morgan Llywelyn
BornSally Snyder
(1937-12-03) December 3, 1937 (age 84)
New York City, U.S.
NationalityIrish, American
GenreHistorical fantasy, historical fiction
SubjectIrish history

Morgan Llywelyn (born December 3, 1937) is an American-Irish historical interpretation author of historical and mythological fiction and historical non-fiction. Her interpretation of mythology and history has received several awards and has sold more than 40 million copies, and she herself is recipient of the 1999 Exceptional Celtic Woman of the Year Award from Celtic Women International.[1] [2]


Llywelyn was born Sally Snyder in New York in 1937. She was the daughter of Joseph John (an attorney) and she attended high school in Dallas.[3] In her teens, Llywelyn moved to the Dallas area, where she developed a love of horses. By the age of 16, Llywelyn was competing in professional horse shows across the United States. By age 18, she modeled for Neiman Marcus and Arthur Murray. After 15 years of experience as a horse trainer and instructor, she tried out for and narrowly missed making the 1976 United States Olympic Team in dressage. She was instead shortlisted, missing the cut off score by .05 percent.[2]

With her mother's encouragement and a successfully published article on horse training, she refocused her efforts in tracing the Llywelyn family history and eventually made a career out of writing historical novels that allowed the exploration of her Celtic roots.[1] In reference to this career change, Llywelyn had this to say:

I have a strong strain of Welsh on my mother's side, which does indeed go back to Llywelyn ap Iorwerth. And Llywelyn the Great! (We have the proven genealogy from the College of Heralds.) She was very proud of her royal Welsh connection. That is why she was so interested in genealogy in the first place, and inspired me to get involved as well ... leading in turn to THE WIND FROM HASTINGS. But both my parents were predominantly Irish – my father totally so – and I spent half the years of my childhood here. So I have always been much more interested in Ireland and its history and legends.[2]

Llywelyn has received several awards for her works. She received the Novel of the Year Award from the National League of American Penwomen for her novel, The Horse Goddess, as well as the Woman of the Year Award from the Irish-American Heritage Committee for Bard: The Odyssey of the Irish. The latter award was presented to her by Ed Koch, then-mayor of New York City.[1]

Although Llywelyn's grandparents have their roots in Ireland, it was only after the death of her parents and her husband in 1985 that she relocated to Ireland. Llywelyn now lives outside Dublin and has become an Irish citizen.[1]

In 1990, Llywelyn began her focus on writing books geared for younger readers. These works started with Brian Boru: Emperor of the Irish, for which she won an Irish Children's Book Trust Bisto Award in 1991, and includes other titles, such as Strongbow: The Story of Richard and Aoife, for which she won a Bisto Award in the Historical Fiction category, 1993 and the Reading Association of Ireland Award, 1993, and Star Dancer, which departed from her usual Celtic topic and was centered on her experiences with dressage. Further works include The Vikings in Ireland, an exploration of when the Norsemen arrived in Ireland, and Pirate Queen, a younger reader's version of the story of Grace O'Malley, told through letters from Granuaile to her beloved son.[1]


Novels and short fiction collections[edit]


Year Title Award
Wind From Hastings
  • Alternate Main Selection, Doubleday Book Club
  • Used as a history text by Little Rock High School, Little Rock, Arkansas
Lion of Ireland
  • New York Times Bestseller
  • Time Magazine Bestseller
  • Cultural Heritage Award, Washington, D.C.
  • Award of Merit, Texas Booksellers Assoc.
  • Literary Guild Selection
The Horse Goddess
  • Best Novel, Biennial Award, League of American Pen women
  • Best Novel for Young Ad, American Library Association
  • Historical Novel of the Year, RT Times awards
  • Book-of-the-Month Club Selection
Bard: The Odyssey Of The Irish
Xeres: Past & Present : Non-fiction Biography
Red Branch
  • Selection of Quality Paperback Book Club
Brian Boru: Emperor Of The Irish
  • Winner of Bisto Award for Excellence in Children's Literature
1991 The Last Prince of Ireland
  • History book Club International selection
1993 Strongbow: The Story of Richard and Aoife
  • Winner of Bisto Award for Excellence in Children's Literature
  • Winner of Reading Association of Ireland Biennial Award for Best Book for Children
Finn Mac Cool
  • Selection of Quality Paperback Book Club
1996 Cold Places
  • 100 Best Books for Children, Britain
Pride of Lions
  • Literary Guild Selection
1916: A Novel Of The Irish Rebellion


  1. ^ a b c d e "Morgan Llywelyn". The O'Brien Press. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "About Morgan". Tony Clark [webmaster or writer?]. The Official Morgan Llywelyn Website. Revised February 10, 2013. Archived 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2014-10-16.
  3. ^ Robertson, Julia. "Miss". Retrieved 22/04/22. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ "Bard: The Odyssey of the Irish". Macmillan. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  5. ^ "Finn Mac Cool". Macmillan. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  6. ^ "1916". Macmillan. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  7. ^ "1921". Macmillan. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  8. ^ "After Rome". Macmillan. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  9. ^ "Only the Stones Survive". Macmillan. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Drop by Drop". Macmillan. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  11. ^ "Inch by Inch". Macmillan. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Breath by Breath". Macmillan. Retrieved 10 September 2021.

External links[edit]