Pierce at the Boskone science fiction convention in Boston, February 2008
December 13, 1954 |
South Connellsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, US
|Genre||Children's and young-adult fantasy|
|Notable works||The Song of the Lioness|
|Notable awards||Margaret Edwards Award
Tamora Pierce (born December 13, 1954) is an American writer of fantasy fiction for teenagers, known best for stories featuring young heroines. She made a name for herself with her first book series, The Song of the Lioness (1983–1988), which followed the main character Alanna through the trials and triumphs of training as a knight.
Pierce won the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 2013, citing her two quartets Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small (1999–2002). The annual award recognizes one writer and a particular body of work for "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature".
Pierce was born in South Connellsville, Pennsylvania in Fayette County, on December 13, 1954. Her mother wanted to name her "Tamara" but the nurse who filled out her birth certificate misspelled it as "Tamora". When she was five her sister Kimberly (whom she based Alanna on) was born and a year later her second sister, Melanie, was born. From the time she was five until she was eight, she lived in Dunbar. In June 1963 she and her family moved to California. They first lived in San Mateo on El Camino Real and then moved to the other side of the San Francisco Peninsula, in Miramar. They lived there for half a year, in El Granada a full year, and then three years in Burlingame.
She began reading when she was very young and started writing when she was in the sixth grade. Her interest in fantasy and science fiction began when she was introduced to J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and so she started to write the kind of books that she was reading. After her parents divorced, her mother moved her and her sisters back to Fayette County in 1969, where she spent two years at Albert Gallatin Senior High. When her family moved again, she spent her senior year at Uniontown Area Senior High School, acting, singing, and writing for the school paper. She is an alumna of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn).
On her homepage, Pierce states she gets most ideas from things she stumbles upon. Her concept of magic as a tapestry of threads comes from her experiences in crocheting, and in her world, all mages are somehow based on British naturalist David Attenborough after watching his nature documentaries. Fantasy novels and Arthurian legend were the base of the worlds she thought up as a girl, and later she added contemporary issues like youth crime, cholera outbreaks in Africa. In general, Pierce states: "The best way to prepare to have ideas when you need them is to listen to and encourage your obsessions."
Pierce draws on elements of people and animals around her for inspiration. The character of Alanna is loosely based on Pierce's sister. Thayet's appearance is based on a friend of Pierce's. Beka's pigeon friends in Provost's Dog are all based on actual pigeons of Pierce's acquaintance.
Tamora Pierce first started writing to escape from the drama of her parents' divorce. She wrote fan fiction based on her favorite stories, imitating them closely. Pierce says she decided to write her stories about strong female characters because she noticed a lack of them in the books she read when she was young.
- "Edwards Award 2013". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). American Library Association (ALA).
"Edwards Award". YALSA. ALA. Retrieved 2015-02-08.
- Pierce, Tamora. "Tamora Pierce Biography". Tamora Pierce: Author of Young Adult Fantasy. Tamora Pierce. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- Bonnie Kunzel & Susan Fichtelberg Tamora Pierce: A Student Companion, Hardcover, Greenwood Press, 2007
- Pierce, Tamora. "Acknowledgments." Bloodhound: Beka Cooper Book Two. New York: Random House Children's Books (2009). p 551.
- Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) Collection, Northern Illinois University
- Tamora Pierce's FAQs updated 9-21-05
- Pierce, Tamora. "Tamora Pierce Biography". Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- Pierce, Tamora (2006). Terrier. New York: Random House. ISBN 9781439518830.
- Kacelnik, Chally (27 December 2010). "Iconography: Tamora Pierce and All the Feminist Fantasy Heroines You Could Want". bitch. bitch media. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
- "Podcast Interview about 'White Tiger' with Tamora Pierce and Timothy Liebe"
- "Tiger Tiger Burning Bright: Pierce Talks 'White Tiger'" by David Richards, Comic Book Resources, March 6, 2006
- "Eye of the White Tiger: Meet Marvel's Tamora Pierce" by Newsarama, February 27, 2006
- Brown, Joanne, & St. Clair, Nancy, Declarations of Independence: Empowered Girls in Young Adult Literature, 1990–2001 (Lanham, MD, & London: The Scarecrow Press, 2002 Scarecrow Studies in Young Adult Literature, No. 7) ISBN 0-8108-4290-4
- Cart, Michael, From Romance to Realism: 50 Years of Growth and Change in Young Adult Literature (New York: HarperCollins, 1996) ISBN 0-06-446161-0
- Dailey, Donna, Tamora Pierce (New York: Chelsea House, 2006 Who Wrote That?) ISBN 0-7910-8795-6
- Egoff, Sheila A., Worlds Within: Children’s Fantasy from the Middle Ages to Today (Chicago & London: American Library Association, 1988) ISBN 0-8389-0494-7
- Melano, Anne L., "Utopias of Violence: Pierce's Knights of Tortall and the Contemporary Heroic" (Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, vol 3 issue 2, 2009)
- Lennard, John, Tamora Pierce: The Immortals (Tirril: Humanities-Ebooks, 2007) ISBN 978-1-84760-037-0
- -- 'Of Stormwings and Valiant Women: The Tortallan World of Tamora Pierce', in Of Modern Dragons and other essays on Genre Fiction (Tirril: Humanities-Ebooks, 2007), pp. 191–228 ISBN 978-1-84760-038-7
- Sullivan III, C. W., ed., Young Adult Science Fiction (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999 Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy 79) ISBN 0-313-28940-9
- Trites, Roberta Seelinger, Disturbing the Universe: Power and Repression in Adolescent Literature (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2000) ISBN 0-87745-857-X
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