Sarah Waters

Photograph of Sarah Waters © Charlie Hopkinson

Last updated: 18 March 2010

Pembrokeshire-born Sarah Waters is the author of popular novels such as Tipping The Velvet and Fingersmith. Her latest book The Little Stranger was shortlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize, and has recently been longlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. (Photograph © Charlie Hopkinson)

Sarah Waters was born in Neyland, Pembrokeshire in 1966. She studied English literature at Kent and Lancaster universities and also has a PhD in the subject - her chosen field of study being that of lesbian and gay historical fiction.

Waters' first novel Tipping The Velvet, based in Victorian London society with a lesbian love story at its heart, won the 1999 Betty Trask Award. It was adapted for BBC television by Andrew Davies and featured Keeley Hawes, Rachael Stirling, Anna Chancellor and Jodhi May.

Her second novel Affinity was published in 1999, again set within the Victorian era and also having been adapted for the screen by Davies. It was shortlisted for the 2000 Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award and won the 2000 Somerset Maugham Award for Lesbian and Gay Fiction.

Fingersmith (2002), a thrilling tale set among petty thieves in London in the 1860s, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the Orange Prize for Fiction. It was adapted by Peter Ransley for a BBC television series starring Sally Hawkins, Elaine Cassidy and Imelda Staunton.

The Night Watch, set against the turbulent backdrop of wartime Britain, was shortlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and Orange Prize for Fiction, plus the 2007 British Book Awards Book of the Year.

Her most recent novel The Little Stranger was shortlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize (which was ultimately claimed by Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall). The novel also recently made the longlist for the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction.

Selected bibliography

  • Tipping the Velvet (1998)
  • Affinity (1999)
  • Fingersmith (2002)
  • The Night Watch (2006)
  • The Little Stranger (2009)

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