Tanith Lee


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"Much of her work comes from "small things" rather than major inspirations.

About my works...

She began publishing work of genre interest with The Betrothed (1968 ), a short story privately printed by a friend, but started her career proper with several Children's Fantasies. Of these, The Dragon Hoard (1971), her first novel, is a comic fantasy, in which an affronted Enchantress compels the Quest-ridden protagonist to shapeshift humiliatingly into a raven at unpredictable moments. Princess Hynchatti & Some Other Surprises (collection of linked stories in 1972) puts its cast through various travails. In Companions on the Road (1975) the Companions are the Villains, a trio of hellish Revenants who kill through their control of Dreams as they search for the holders of a magic chalice. The Winter Players (1976) – assembled with the previous book as Companions on the Road and The Winter Players: Two Novellas (1977) – dramatizes the interaction between a young woman and the Accursed Wanderer whom she ultimately redeems. Even in these early works, several characteristic motifs dominate: the Rite of Passage whereby a young protagonist comes to terms – often via Metamorphosis – with his or her extraordinary nature, and strives for Balance in a riven world; vivid, but indeterminate, landscapes serving as almost interchangeable backdrops for psychic dramas; and a fine indifference to any moralistic settling of scores, her tales tending to close with Good and Evil characters settling into uneasy equipoise.

Why I write and my experience...

Enjoying producing adult and young adult novels, science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, spy fiction, erotica, a historical novel, radio plays and two episodes of the television space opera Blake’s 7. Yet all her work shares a tone – Lee captured like few other modern writers a gothic, not to say goth, sensibility in which the relentless pursuit of personal autonomy and sensual fulfillment leads her characters to the brink of delirium, as well as to a fierce integrity that can co-habit with self-sacrificing empathy.[