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Sarah Waters's Biography

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Sarah Waters was born in Pembrokeshire in Wales in 1966, and went to the local Catholic school before going to University in Canterbury, where she got a BA in English literature.

Sarah Waters followed up with an MA in gay and lesbian historical fiction from Lancaster University and a PhD on the idea of history in lesbian and gay writing from Queen Mary, University of London.

Awards and awards shortlists are not new to Sarah Waters. Fingersmith, which was adapted into a three-part drama for BBC ONE, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize in 2002. Affinity won Waters the Somerset Maugham Prize and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, whilst her first novel, Tipping the Velvet, won the Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday / John Llewelyn Rhys Prize.

Tipping the Velvet was published to critical acclaim and was adapted by Andrew Davies for BBC drama in 2002.

The Times Literary Supplement had an interesting account of how Sarah Waters writes:

"Waters is refreshingly open about how she writes her novels. She gets to know the writing of a period very well (Tipping the Velvet came out of a PhD in late-Victorian literature). She researches the social history: the fascinating stuff about how people lived, dressed, washed their teeth, had sex; what happened inside women's prisons and private asylums. The fiction of the time gives her ideas for plot structure and motifs ..."

Asked by BBC Cambridgeshire what she liked about writing, Sarah Waters replied:

"The most exciting thing for me and the thing that I always have to come back to when I'm feeling a bit depressed about it all, is that there's something wonderful about slowly building up in my head this little world ..."

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters was shortlisted for the 2006 Booker. Set in the 1940s it has four main characters, who are linked by incidental connections. The Night Watch was also shortlisted for the Orange prize.

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