Tamora Pierce

Guest of Honor

Tamora Pierce was born on December 13, 1954. She spent most of her childhood in Pennsylvania. Her father introduced her to writing. science fiction, and adventure fiction. By the time she was in the seventh grade, she was writing her own fiction. She attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a BA in liberal arts in 1977. In her junior year of college, Tamora published her first short story. After college she worked at various jobs, including as a housemother in a group home for teenaged girls, before she moved to Manhattan to pursue a publishing career. There her agent convinced her to turn a novel she had written into four books for teenagers.

Tamora’s fantasy novels for young readers are noted for their strong female protagonists and their imaginative, well-drawn plots. She actively tries to create more and varied female role models through her works. She points out that research has shown “guy heroes” still greatly outnumber “girl heroes.” It is not that she has anything against males, and boys often play strong, positive roles in her books. However, she wants girls know that they “too can get out there and DO things right along with guys.”

A woman with wide-ranging interests, Tamora continues to focus her research in specific areas, many of which eventually become incorporated into her fantasy novels for teens. For instance, she is interested in medieval customs; she studies Japanese, Central Asian, and Arabic history and culture, the American Civil War, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. She visits schools as often as she can in order to meet her readers, and reading remains her own favorite pastime. She belongs to the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Authors Guild. At the present time she has 29 published books.

Tamora and her husband Tim live with their (at present) nine rescued indoor cats as well as the feral cats and other animals they feed in their back yard.