Tuesday, November 3, 2009

BC About the Author: Diane Setterfield

Diane Setterfield grew up in England, and attended Bristol University where she studied French Literature. She started her career in academia and taught in various universities in England and France, where she lived for several years. Prior to her first novel, The Thirteenth Tale, Setterfield published several academic works about 19th and 20th century French literature, in particular the works of André Gide (a French writer, humanist, and moralist who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947).

She left academia in the late '90s. She enjoyed teaching but hated university politics, and after five years was still working to pay off the loan she had taken out to fund her Ph.D. "I gave up my job to write before I knew what I wanted to write about," she says. "It might seem bold or brave, but really it comes down to how much you want to do something. If you want to do something so badly, then you have to make a bold decision." +/-

Setterfield was so tired of academic work after leaving her job as a professor that she decided to pursue other, more physical ventures. So, she began teaching private French lessons on the side and spending most of her time renovating her home. Then one day, the voice of Miss Winter came to her and she set about a first draft, which was completed 18 months later. She had read French literature exclusively for so long, that she found herself wanting to go back to English classics, which she’s loved so much as a teenager. And so, Setterfield decided to write her book, The Thirteenth Tale after the English Gothic tradition, with echoes of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

Her debut novel has been an immense success both in the UK and the United States. She is currently working on a second novel. Setterfield’s all-time favorite book is The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, which she called “the most perfect book I can remember reading.” Other favorites include A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters.

She now lives in Yorkeshire, England, with her husband and four cats.

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