TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce was born in Connellsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, on December 13, 1954. Her unique name was the result of a nurse at the hospital misspelling her name on her birth certificate--her mom intended to name her Tamara! She has two younger sisters, Kimberly and Melanie. When Tamora (pronounced like "camera") was nine years old, her family moved from Pennsylvania to California, where they settled in the San Francisco Bay area. While the family was in the Bay area, Tamora's father overheard Tamora telling stories, and he encouraged her to write them down. This suggestion, along with a teacher's recommendation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, inspired Tamora to start writing! She wrote a number of stories about teenage girl warriors--characters she found missing in the fantasy and science fiction novels that she loved.

The Pierce family lived in the Bay area until 1969, when her parents divorced and she moved back to Fayette County, Pennsylvania, with her mother and her sisters. The move changed her life yet again, and she stayed in rural Pennsylvania until she graduated from high school. She attended college at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where she studied a wide variety of subjects, including psychology, film, social work, education, French, German, and and sociology. During her time at Penn, Tamora rediscovered the joy of writing, and began writing stories yet again.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Tamora wrote a 732-page adult novel, entitled Song of the Lioness. If that title sounds familiar, it probably is--the book was later cut into four parts and released as the Song of the Lioness quartet, the first of three quartets of novels taking place in the land of Tortall. The first book in the quartet was published in 1983. Tamora Pierce has been writing full-time since 1992. She currently lives in Manhattan with her Beloved Spouse-Creature, Tim Liebe, four cats, and two budgies.