Pierce, Tamora 1954-

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PIERCE, Tamora 1954-

PERSONAL: Born December 13, 1954, in South Connellsville, PA; daughter of Wayne Franklin and Jacqueline S. Pierce. Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 1976. Hobbies and other interests: "I am interested in medieval customs, life, and chivalry. I study Japanese, Central Asian, and Arabic history and culture; wildlife and nature; crime; the American Civil War; and the conflicts between Islam and Christianity in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Occasionally I rescue hurt or homeless animals in a local park . . . visit schools as often as I can, and read, read, read."

ADDRESSES: Agent—Craig R. Tenney, Harold Ober Associates, 425 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017.

CAREER: City of Kingston, NY, tax data collector, 1977-78; towns of Hardenburgh and Denning, NY, tax clerk, 1978; McAuley Home for Girls, Buhl, ID, social worker and housemother, 1978-79; Harold Ober Associates, New York, NY, assistant to literary agent, 1979-82; ZPPR Productions, Inc. (radio producers), creative director, 1982-86; Chase Investment Bank, New York, NY, secretary, 1985-89; freelance writer, 1990—. Former instructor, Free Woman's University, University of Pennsylvania.

MEMBER: Authors Guild, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Writers of America.

AWARDS, HONORS: Author's Citation, Alumni Association of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, 1984, for Alanna: The First Adventure; Schüler-Express ZDF Preis (Germany), 1985, and South Carolina Children's Book Award nomination, 1985-86, both for In the Hand of the Goddess; Children's Paperbacks Bestseller, Australian Bookseller and Publisher, 1995, for Wolf-Speaker; Best Books for Young Adults list, Hawaii State Library, Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror list,Voice of Youth Advocates, both 1995, and Best Books for Young Adults list, American Library Association, 1996, all for The Emperor Mage; Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror list, Voice of Youth Advocates, 1996, and Best Books for the Teen Age list, New York Public Library, 1997, both for The Realms of the Gods.



Alanna: The First Adventure, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1983.

In the Hand of the Goddess, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1984.

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1986.

Lioness Rampant, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1988.


Wild Magic, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1992.

Wolf-Speaker, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1994.

The Emperor Mage, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1995.

The Realms of the Gods, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1996.


Sandry's Book, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1996.

Tris's Book, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

Daja's Book, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

Briar's Book, Scholastic (New York, NY), in press.


(Contributor) Steve Ditlea, editor, Digital Deli, Workman (New York, NY), 1984.

(Contributor) Douglas Hill, editor, Planetfall, Oxford University Press (New York , NY), 1985.

First Test, Random House (New York, NY), 1999.

Magic Steps, Scholastic Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Page, Random House (New York, NY), 2000.

Street Images, Scholastic Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Author of radio scripts aired on National Public Radio, 1987-89. Contributor to periodicals, including Christian Century and School Library Journal. Pierce's works have been translated into German, Danish, and Spanish.

SIDELIGHTS: Tamora Pierce's fantasy novels for young readers are noted for their strong female protagonists and imaginative, well-drawn plots. In her "Song of the Lioness" quartet, Pierce features Alanna, a young woman who disguises herself as a man in order to train as a knight, and then uses her physical strength and healing capabilities to serve Prince Jonathan and engage in numerous medieval adventures. "I enjoy writing for teenagers," Pierce once told CA, "because I feel I help to make life easier for kids who are like I was.

"I owe my career as a writer and my approach to writing to people like my writing mentor, David Bradley, who taught me that writing is not an arcane and mystical process, administered by the initiate and fraught with obstacles, but an enjoyable pastime that gives other people as much pleasure as it does me. I enjoy telling stories, and, although some of my topics are grim, people get caught up in them."

Alanna: The First Adventure, the first novel in the "Song of the Lioness" series, focuses on the title character's determination to avoid the traditional fate of young women her age—life in a secluded convent. Instead, she changes identities with her brother and begins training to become a knight in the service of her country's king. In Pierce's second novel, In the Hand of the Goddess, Alanna, now a squire, struggles to master skills necessary to survive her test for knighthood. After successfully protecting Prince Jonathan in battle, she eventually decides to leave royal service in search of further adventures. Proving her worth in physical combat, Alanna is accepted by a tribe of desert warriors, and ultimately becomes their shaman, in The Woman Who Rides Like a Man. Alanna broadens the outlook of these desert people, raising a few women of the tribe to an equal level with the men before moving on to other adventures. And in Lioness Rampant, the final volume of the quartet, the stubborn heroine, now legendary for her magical powers and skills in battle, goes on a quest for the King of Tortall. She also encounters love in the warrior Liam; his dislike of her magical powers, however, makes their relationship fragile. Calling Pierce "a great storyteller," a Junior Bookshelf reviewer praised the series' inventive characters in particular, saying the heroine's "sword, her companion and her cat will always be ready to rise to any emergency." In a School Library Journal review of In the Hand of the Goddess, Isabel Soffer praised Pierce's books about Alanna as "sprightly, filled with adventure and marvelously satisfying."

Pierce followed her "Song of the Lioness" novels with a second series, "The Immortals," which began with Wild Magic. Although Alanna appears in the novel, the new protagonist is thirteen-year-old Daine, an orphaned teen who has an unexplained empathy with wild creatures and a sixth sense that allows her to foresee danger. In fact, she is in danger of reverting to a wild creature herself until the wizard Numair teaches her to channel her "wild magic." Daine then uses her powers to stop evil humans from coercing the newly arrived Immortals—dragons, griffins, spidrens, and Stormwings—to help them accomplish destructive purposes. Sally Estes in Booklist called Wild Magic "a dynamic story sure to engross fantasy fans," and Anne A. Flowers, in Horn Book, said readers will "find in Daine a strong heroine whose humble beginning makes her well-deserved rewards even more gratifying."

Reviewing Wolf-Speaker, the sequel to Wild Magic, Mary L. Adams wrote in Voice of Youth Advocates: "Daine is a super new heroine who makes this actionpacked fantasy a joy to read." Bonnie Kunzel commented in School Library Journal that Wolf-Speaker "is a compulsively readable novel that [young adults] won't be able to put down until the final battle is over and good triumphs. Pierce's faithful readers as well as any action-adventure or animal fantasy fans will be delighted with this new series." Daine's adventures continue in other "Immortals" novels, which include The Emperor Mage and The Realms of the Gods, the concluding novel of the series in which Pierce's young female protagonist convinces dragons and other Immortal creatures to fight on her side against evil.

Magic again is central to Pierce's fantasy series, "Circle of Magic." In Sandry's Book, "a rich and satisfying read," according to a Kirkus Reviews critic, Sandry, Daja, Briar, and Trisana—four young people from various walks of life—meet and become friends while living in a temple community. As the four protagonists overcome the negative aspects of their lives, they learn a variety of crafts as well as the use of their unique powers, including magic.



Twentieth-Century Young Adult Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.


Booklist, October 15, 1992, p. 419; March 15, 1994, p. 1344; June 1-15, 1995, p. 1757; October 15, 1996, p. 414.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November, 1984, p. 53; April, 1986, p. 156; November, 1997, pp. 97-98.

Horn Book, May-June, 1986, pp. 333-34; March-April, 1989, p. 234; January-February, 1993, p. 93; September-October, 1994, p. 613; July-August, 1995, p. 485.

Junior Bookshelf, October, 1989, p. 243.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1988, pp. 1154-55; October 15, 1992, p. 1314; July 15, 1997.

School Library Journal, December, 1984, p. 94; July, 1995, p. 80; August, 1995, pp. 37-38; November, 1996, p. 124.

Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 1985, p. 56; December, 1988, p. 248; August, 1994, p. 159; April, 1995, p. 14.*