Morgan Llywelyn

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This article is about the Irish author. For the retired senior British Army officer, see Morgan Llewellyn.
Morgan Llywelyn
Born Sally Snyder
(1937-12-03) December 3, 1937 (age 77)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Writer
Nationality Irish, American
Period 1978-
Genre Historical fantasy, historical fiction
Subject Irish history

Morgan Llywelyn (born December 3, 1937) is an American-Irish historical fantasy, historical fiction, and historical non-fiction writer. Her fiction 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.


Llywelyn was born Sally Snyder in New York in 1937. In her teens, Llywelyn moved to the Dallas area, where she developed a love of horses. By the age of 16, Llywelyn was performing 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.[1]

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.[2] 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."[1]

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.[2]

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.[2]

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.[2]


Novels and short fiction collections[edit]

  • 1978 The Wind from Hastings
  • 1980 Lion of Ireland
  • 1983 The Horse Goddess
  • 1984 Bard: The Odyssey of the Irish
  • 1984 Personal Habits
  • 1986 Grania: She-King of the Irish Seas
  • 1987 Xerxes
  • 1989 The Isles of the Blest
  • 1989 Red Branch
  • 1990 Brian Boru: Emperor of the Irish
  • 1989 On Raven's Wing
  • 1991 Druids
  • 1992 The Last Prince of Ireland: A Novel
  • 1992 O'Sullivan's March
  • 1993 The Elementals
  • 1993 Star Dancer
  • 1994 Finn Mac Cool
  • 1995 Cold Places
  • 1995 Ireland: A Graphic History (with Michael Scott)
  • 1995 Silverhand (Arcana, Book 1; with Michael Scott)
  • 1996 19 Railway Street (with Michael Scott)
  • 1996 The Vikings in Ireland
  • 1996 Strongbow: The Story of Richard & Aoife
  • 1996 Silverlight (Arcana, Book 2; with Michael Scott)
  • 1996 Pride of Lions
  • 1998 1916, A Novel Of the Irish Rebellion
  • 1999 The Essential Library for Irish Americans
  • 2000 Etruscans (with Michael Scott)
  • 2000 A Pocket History of Irish Rebels
  • 2000 The Earth Is Made Of Stardust
  • 2001 1921, The War for Independence
  • 2001 Granuaile, The Pirate Queen
  • 2003 1949, The Irish Republic
  • 2005 1972, A Novel of Ireland's Unfinished Revolution
  • 2006 The Greener Shore: A Novel of the Druids of Hibernia
  • 2006 Pirate Queen
  • 2006 The Young Rebels
  • 2006 The History of Irish Rebels
  • 2006 The Vikings in Ireland
  • 2008 1999 - A Novel of the Celtic Tiger and the Search for Peace
  • 2010 Brendan - The Remarkable Life and Voyage of Brendan of Clonfert
  • 2013 After Rome
  • 2014 1014: Brian Boru & the Battle for Ireland


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
  • 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
  • Historical Novel of the Year, RT Times awards
  • Book-of-the-Month Club Selection
Bard: The Odyssey Of The Irish
  • Award of Merit, The Celtic League
Xeres: Past & Present : Non-fiction Biography
  • Part of The World Leaders Series
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
  • Irish-American Heritage Award


  1. ^ a b "About Morgan". Tony Clark [webmaster or writer?]. The Official Morgan Llywelyn Website. Revised February 10, 2013. Archived 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2014-10-16.
  2. ^ a b c d "Morgan Llywelyn". The O'Brien Press. Retrieved 25 December 2013.

External links[edit]