Sharon Kay Penman is an historical novelist.

In the United Kingdom, where her books appear under the name of Sharon Penman, her publisher Penguin Books describes her as being "born of Anglo-Irish parents, has degrees in both history and law, and was a practising lawyer until the publication of her first novel" and adds that she has "travelled widely on both sides of the Atlantic" and "lives in New Jersey". Elsewhere however she is described as "almost 100 percent American" and was born at Greenwich Village in New York City in 1945 and raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She studied history at the University of Texas and obtained a Juris Doctor Degree from Rutgers School of Law, after which she practiced corporate and tax law for a number of years.

During her time at Texas she became interested in Richard III and began work on a novel in which Richard was the principal character, following the "revisionist" school which sees him as a much maligned and misunderstood figure. The original manuscript was stolen from her car in a busy car park in 1966 and she suffered a a six-year writer's block as a result. Eventually she returned to writing and rewrote the entire novel from scratch which was finally published in 1982 as "The Sunne in Splendour". The succcess of this book encouraged to quit her job. She now looks on her time spent as a lawyer as a "penance for my sins: past, present, and future". Since quitting her job to write full-time, she has written a trilogy of novels which recount the events of the life of Llywelyn the last king of Gwynedd and a further trilogy based on the reign of Henry II and the turbulent relationship with his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and has diversified into writing a series of medieval mysteries featuring a detective named Justin de Quincy.


The Welsh trilogy

The Henry II trilogy

The Justin de Quincy Mysteries


Author interview by Jessica Turner

Author interview by Wendy Zollo

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.