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Mary Sharratt

Biography

Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt’s explorations into the hidden histories of Renaissance women compelled her to write her most recent work, THE DARK LADY’S MASK, based on the dramatic life of the ground-breaking poet, Aemilia Bassano Lanier.

Born in Minnesota, Mary Sharratt now lives with her Belgian husband in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, the setting for her acclaimed novel, DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL, which recasts the Pendle Witches of 1612 in their historical context as cunning folk and healers.

Previously she lived for 12 years in Germany. This, along with her interest in sacred music and herbal medicine, inspired her to write her award-winning ILLUMINATIONS: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen, which explores the dramatic life of the 12th century Benedictine abbess, composer, polymath and powerfrau.

Winner of the 2013 Nautilus Gold Award, the 2005 WILLA Literary Award, and a Minnesota Book Award Finalist, Mary has also written the novels SUMMIT AVENUE, THE REAL MINERVA, THE VANISHING POINT, and co-edited the subversive fiction anthology BITCH LIT, which celebrates female anti-heroes --- strong women who break all the rules. Her short fiction has been published in Twin Cities Noir and elsewhere.

She is currently at work on ECSTASY: A Novel of Alma Mahler, exploring the life of one of the most intriguing women of turn-of-the-century Vienna.

Mary’s articles and essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Publishers Weekly, Minnesota Magazine and Historical Novels Review. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually riding her spirited Welsh mare through the Lancashire countryside.

Mary Sharratt

Books by Mary Sharratt

by Mary Sharratt - Fiction, Historical Fiction

Aemilia Bassano Lanier is beautiful and accomplished, but her societal conformity ends there. She frequently cross-dresses to escape her loveless marriage and to gain freedoms only men enjoy, but a chance encounter with a ragged, little-known poet named Shakespeare changes everything. They begin secretly writing comedies together and fall in love, but their collaborative affair comes to a devastating end. Will gains fame and fortune for their plays in London and years later publishes the sonnets mocking his former muse. Not one to stand by in humiliation, Aemilia takes up her own pen in her defense and in defense of all women.

by Mary Sharratt - Fiction, Historical Fiction

Offered to the Church at the age of eight, Hildegard von Bingen was entombed in a small room where she was expected to live out her days in silent submission. Instead, she found comfort and grace in studying books, growing herbs, and rejoicing in her own secret visions of the divine. Some 30 years later, Hildegard broke out of her prison with the heavenly calling to speak and write about her visions and to liberate her sisters and herself from the soul-destroying anchorage.

by Mary Sharratt - Fiction, Historical Fiction

Bess Southerns, an impoverished widow living in Pendle Forest, is haunted by visions and gains a reputation as a cunning woman. Drawing on the Catholic folk magic of her youth, Bess heals the sick and foretells the future. As she ages, she instructs her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft. When a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate, eager to make his name as a witch finder, plays neighbors and family members against one another until suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights.