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

She is the author of at least 54 novels and 188 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 is one of the Guests of Honour at Orbital 2008 the British National Science Fiction convention (Eastercon) to be held in London in March 2008.

Lee’s WorkEdit

Tanith 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 style and atmosphere is probably closest to Jack Vance who, similarly, is not tied to a specific genre. 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 a satan-like creature 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 "world" and asks to be returned. Much of her work is allegorical in nature, even Bible-like, in her presentation of strange mythical lands. Added to the mix is a sexual sensibility that is not often found in fantasy fiction. Her prose style is more atmospheric than intimate, often transplanting the reader into strange lands that are simultaneously recognizable, like the gothic-like setting of The Castle of Dark or the surreal fantasy realm of Prince on a White Horse in which both the reader and the main character are ignorant of their whereabouts and plopped into the story and setting seemingly together. 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 The Dragon Hoard in 1971, Animal Castle and Princess Hynchatti & Some Other Surprises in 1972, Companions on the Road (1975) and Prince on a White Horse in 1982 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 Birthgrave Trilogy
The Four-BEE Series
The Novels of Vis
Tales From The Flat Earth
The S.I.L.V.E.R. Series
The Secret Books of Paradys
The Unicorn Series
The Blood Opera Sequence
The Secret Books of Venus
The Claidi Journals
The Piratica Series
  • 34 (2004) (as Esther Garber)
  • Fatal Women (2004) (as Esther Garber)
The Lionwolf Series


External linksEdit