Tamora Pierce

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This article is about the American writer. For other uses, see Tamora (disambiguation).
Tamora Pierce
Tamora Pierce.jpg
Pierce at the Boskone science fiction convention in Boston, February 2008
Born (1954-12-13) December 13, 1954 (age 61)
South Connellsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, US
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Genre Children's and young-adult fantasy
Notable works The Song of the Lioness
Notable awards Margaret Edwards Award
2013
Website
www.tamora-pierce.com

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".[1]

Biography[edit]

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".[2] When she was five her sister Kimberly (whom she based Alanna on)[3] 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).

While at Penn she wrote the books that became The Song of the Lioness quartet. The first book of this quartet, Alanna: The First Adventure was published by Atheneum Books in 1983.

Pierce lived with her husband Tim Liebe (Spouse-Creature) in New York City, with their four cats and multiple other pets, until they moved to Syracuse, New York.[4]

In 2008, she donated her archive to the department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University.[5]

Writing process[edit]

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."[6]

Pierce draws on elements of people and animals around her for inspiration. The character of Alanna is loosely based on Pierce's sister.[7] 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.[8]

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.[7] 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.[9]

Works[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Edwards Award 2013". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). American Library Association (ALA).
      "Edwards Award". YALSA. ALA. Retrieved 2015-02-08.
  2. ^ Pierce, Tamora. "Tamora Pierce Biography". Tamora Pierce: Author of Young Adult Fantasy. Tamora Pierce. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Bonnie Kunzel & Susan Fichtelberg Tamora Pierce: A Student Companion, Hardcover, Greenwood Press, 2007
  4. ^ Pierce, Tamora. "Acknowledgments." Bloodhound: Beka Cooper Book Two. New York: Random House Children's Books (2009). p 551.
  5. ^ Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) Collection, Northern Illinois University
  6. ^ Tamora Pierce's FAQs updated 9-21-05
  7. ^ a b Pierce, Tamora. "Tamora Pierce Biography". Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  8. ^ Pierce, Tamora (2006). Terrier. New York: Random House. ISBN 9781439518830. 
  9. ^ Kacelnik, Chally (27 December 2010). "Iconography: Tamora Pierce and All the Feminist Fantasy Heroines You Could Want". bitch. bitch media. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]