Sarah Perry

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Sarah Perry
Sarah Perry, Writer.jpg
Born 1979
Chelmsford, England
Occupation Writer
Alma mater Royal Holloway University

Sarah Perry (born 1979) is an English author. She has had two novels published, both by Serpent's Tail: After Me Comes The Flood (2014) and The Essex Serpent (2016).

Early life and education[edit]

Perry was born in Chelmsford, Essex into a family of devout Christians who were members of a Strict Baptist church, Perry grew up with almost no access to contemporary art, culture, and writing. She filled her time with classical music, classic novels and poetry, and church-related activities. She says this early immersion in old literature and the King James Bible profoundly influenced her writing style.[1] She has a PhD in creative writing from Royal Holloway University where her supervisor was Sir Andrew Motion.

Her doctoral thesis was on the Gothic in the writing of Iris Murdoch, and Perry has subsequently published an article on the Gothic in Aeon magazine.[2][3]

I wrote about the power of place in my PhD thesis, particularly the importance of buildings in the Gothic (a genre which I find myself inhabiting without ever having meant to). Fiction in the Gothic inheritance makes much of the potent importance of the interior, from the castle where Jonathan Harker finds himself holed up to Thornfield, and from the suburban homes in Hilary Mantel’s Beyond Black to the ghastly crypts in The Monk.

In 2013 she was a writer in residence at Gladstone's Library.[4]

Perry won the 2004 Shiva Naipaul Memorial prize for travel writing for 'A little unexpected', an article about her experiences in the Philippines.[5][6]

Novels[edit]

After Me Comes the Flood[edit]

Perry's debut novel, After Me Comes the Flood, was released in 2014 by Serpent's Tail, receiving high praise from reviewers including those of The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian.[7] The novel tells the story of a man named John Cole who wanders into a strange world while seeking out his brother amidst a drought. John Burnside, writing for The Guardian, called it "extraordinary" and "a remarkable debut." [8]

The Essex Serpent[edit]

Her second novel, The Essex Serpent, was also published by Serpent's Tail in 2016. Inspired by the myth of a sea-serpent on the Essex coast, it tells the story of a Victorian widow, Cora Seaborne, and the friends who surround her after the death of her bullying husband. Cora is intrigued and compelled by the possibility of the serpent's return, but clashes with the local vicar, William Ransome, who is determined to lay superstition to rest in his rural parish.

The novel is again written in a gothic style, and explores themes of goodness, friendship, superstition and love and once again received positive reviews; John Burnside, quoted on the book's cover, writes: "Had Charles Dickens and Bram Stoker come together to write the great Victorian novel, I wonder if it would have surpassed The Essex Serpent? No way of knowing, but with only her second outing, Sarah Perry establishes herself as one of the finest fiction writers working in Britain today."[9]

The Essex Serpent was nominated in the Novel category for the 2016 Costa Book Awards[10] and was named Waterstones Book Of The Year 2016. [11] It was placed on the long list for the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.[12]

References[edit]

External links[edit]