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Tanith Lee
Born September 19, 1947
Nationality British
Genres Speculative fiction
Notable award(s) 1980 British Fantasy Award, 1983 & 1984 World Fantasy Award
Spouse(s) John Kaiine
Official website

Tanith Lee (born September 19, 1947(1947-09-19)) is a British writer of science fiction, horror and fantasy.

She is the author of over 70 novels and 250 short stories, a children's picture book (Animal Castle) and many poems. She has also written two episodes of BBC science fiction series Blake's 7.

Lee is the daughter of two ballroom dancers. Despite a persistent rumour, she is not the daughter of Bernard Lee (actor who played "M" in the James Bond series of films of the 1960s). Tanith Lee married author John Kaiine in 1992.

Lee worked as a file clerk, an assistant librarian, a shop assistant and a waitress before becoming a full time writer. Her first short story, Eustace, was published in 1968. Her first novel (for children) was The Dragon Hoard, published in 1971. Her career really took off with the acceptance in 1975 by Daw Books USA of her adult fantasy epic The Birthgrave. This was a mass-market paperback and Lee has since maintained a prolific output in popular genre writing.

She was one of the Guests of Honour at Orbital 2008 the British National Science Fiction convention (Eastercon) held in London in March 2008.



Tanith Lee's debuted with the children's book The Dragon Hoard in 1971, while her first adult book was The Birthgrave in 1975.[1] Lee's prolific output spans a host of different genres, including adult fantasy, children's fantasy, science fiction, horror, Gothic horror, Gothic romance, and historical novels. Her series of interconnected tales called "The Flat-Earth Cycle", beginning with Night's Master and Death's Master, is similar in scope and breadth to Jack Vance's The Dying Earth.

Night's Master contains allegorical tales involving Azhrarn, a demonic prince who kidnaps and raises a beautiful boy and separates him from the sorrow of the real world. Eventually, the boy wants to know more about the earth, and asks to be returned, setting off a series of encounters between Azhrarn and the Earth's people, some horrific, some beneficial. Later tales are loosely based on Babylonian mythology. In the science-fiction Four-BEE series Lee explores youth culture and identity in a society which grants eternally young teenagers complete freedom, including getting killed and receiving a new body, gender, identity over and over again. Lee has also dabbled in the historical novel with her offering The Gods are Thirsty, a book set during the French Revolution.

A large part of her output is children's fantasy which has spanned her entire career from her The Dragon Hoard debut in 1971 to the more recent The Claidi Journals containing Wolf Tower, Wolf Star, Wolf Queen and Wolf Wing in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


Lee has been published by a myriad of different publishers, particularly in regards to whether she is offering adult fiction or children's fantasy. Her earlier children's fantasy novels were published in hardcover by MacMillan UK and subsequently printed as paperbacks in the US often by DAW, with occasional hardcovers by St. Martin's Press. Some of her work was only printed in paperback, mainly in the US by DAW in the 1970s to the early 1980s. She has received some small press treatment, such as the Arkham House edition of short stories Dreams of Dark and Light: The Great Short Fiction of Tanith Lee in 1986, and in the first "Night Visions" installment published by Dark Harvest. Some of her work has been exclusively released in the UK with US publications often pending.


  • The Dragon Hoard (1971)
  • Animal Castle (1972)
  • Princess Hynchatti & Some Other Surprises (1972) (collection of original fairy tales)
  • The Birthgrave Trilogy
  • Companions on the Road (1975)
  • The Four-BEE Series
  • Don't Bite the Sun (1976)
  • Drinking Sapphire Wine (1977)
  • The Wars of Vis
  • The Storm Lord (1976)
  • Anackire (1983)
  • The White Serpent (1988)
  • Electric Forest (1979)
  • Shon the Taken (1979)
  • Sabella, or the Blood Stone (1980)
  • Kill the Dead (1980)
  • Day by Night (1980)
  • Lycanthia, or The Children of Wolves (1981)
  • The S.I.L.V.E.R. Series
  • Unsilent Night (1981)
  • Prince on a White Horse (1982)
  • Cyrion (1982) (collection of short stories framed by a novella, all centered around the title character)
  • Red As Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer (1983) (collection of fantasy retellings of fairy tales)
  • Sung in Shadow (1983) (fantasy retelling of Romeo and Juliet)
  • Tamastara, or The Indian Nights (1984) (collection of stories and novellas themed around India)
  • Night Visions (1984) (collection of various short stories)
  • The Gorgon and Other Beastly Tales (1985) (collection of various short stories)
  • Days of Grass (1985)
  • Dreams of Dark and Light: The Great Short Fiction of Tanith Lee (1986) (collection of various short stories)
  • Dark Castle, White Horse (1986) (omnibus reprint of The Castle of Dark and Prince on a White Horse)
  • The Secret Books of Paradys (set in an alternate version of Paris)
  • The Book of the Damned (1988)
  • The Book of the Beast (1988)
  • The Book of the Dead (1991) (collection of short stories set in this world)
  • The Book of the Mad (1993)
  • The Secret Books of Paradys (2007) (omnibus reprint of all four books)
  • Madame Two Swords (1988)
  • Women as Demons: The Male Perception of Women through Space and Time (1989) (collection of various short stories)
  • Forests of The Night (1989) (collection)
  • A Heroine of the World (1989)
  • The Blood of Roses (1990)
  • The Unicorn Series
  • Heart-Beast (1992)
  • Elephantasm (1993)
  • Nightshades: Thirteen Journeys Into Shadow (1993) (collection of short stories and a novella)
  • Eva Fairdeath (1994)
  • Vivia (1995)
  • Reigning Cats and Dogs (1995)
  • When the Lights Go Out (1996)
  • Louisa the Poisoner (1996)
  • The Gods Are Thirsty (1996) (historical novel about the French Revolution)
  • The Secret Books of Venus (set in an alternate version of Venice)
  • Islands in the Sky (1999)
  • White As Snow (2000) (a retelling of the fairy tale "Snow White")
  • Mortal Suns (2003)
  • The Piratica Series
  • Piratica: Being a Daring Tale of a Singular Girl's Adventures Upon the High Seas (2004)
  • Piratica II: Return to Parrot Island (2006)
  • Piratica III: The Family Sea (2007)
  • Death of the Day (2004)
  • L'Amber (2006)
  • Indigara (2007)
  • Tempting The Gods: The Selected Stories of Tanith Lee, Volume One (2009)
  • Hunting The Shadows: The Selected Stories of Tanith Lee, Volume Two (2009)
  • Greyglass (Forthcoming)
  • Disturbed By Her Song (Forthcoming)
  • The Earth Is Flat (Forthcoming)
  • Earth's Master (Forthcoming)
  • The Firesmith (Forthcoming)
  • To Indigo (Forthcoming)


Nebula Awards

  • 1975: The Birthgrave (nominated, best novel)
  • 1980: Red As Blood (nominated, best short story)

World Fantasy Awards

  • 1979: Night's Master (nominated, best novel)
  • 1983: The Gorgon (winner, best short story)
  • 1984: Elle Est Trois, (La Mort) (winner, best short story)
  • 1984: Nunc Dimittis (nominated, best novella)
  • 1984: Red As Blood, or, Tales From The Sisters Grimmer (nominated, best anthology/collection)
  • 1985: Night Visions 1 (nominated, best anthology/collection)
  • 1987: Dreams Of Dark And Light (nominated, best anthology/collection)
  • 1988: Night's Sorceries (nominated, best anthology/collection)
  • 1999: Scarlet And Gold (nominated, best novella)
  • 2006: Uous (nominated, best novella)

British Fantasy Awards

  • 1979: Quest For The White Witch (nominated, best novel)
  • 1980: Death's Master (winner, best novel)
  • 1980: Red As Blood (nominated, best short story)
  • 1981: Kill The Dead (nominated, best novel)
  • 1999: Jedella Ghost (nominated, best short story)
  • 2000: Where Does The Town Go At Night? (nominated, best short story)


  • Barron, Neil, ed. Anatomy of Wonder: A Critical Guide to Science Fiction (5th ed.). (Libraries Unlimited, 2004) ISBN 1-59158-171-0.
  • Clute, John and Grant, John. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (2nd US edition). New York: St Martin's Griffin, 1999. ISBN 0-312-19869-8. (Paperback)
  • Clute, John Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1995. ISBN 0-7513-0202-3.
  • Clute, John and Peter Nicholls, eds., The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. St Albans, Herts, UK: Granada Publishing, 1979. ISBN 0-586-05380-8.
  • Clute, John and Peter Nicholls, eds., The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York: St Martin's Press, 1995. ISBN 0-312-13486-X.
  • Disch, Thomas M. The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of. Touchstone, 1998.
  • Reginald, Robert. Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, 1975-1991. Detroit, MI/Washington, DC/London: Gale Research, 1992. ISBN 0-8103-1825-3.
  • Westfahl, Gary, ed. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders (three volumes). Greenwood Press, 2005.
  • Wolfe, Gary K. Critical Terms for Science Fiction and Fantasy: A Glossary and Guide to Scholarship. Greenwood Press, 1986. ISBN 0-313-22981-3.

External links

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