Tanith Lee (1947-2015)

Author Tanith Lee, 67, died peacefully in her sleep May 24, 2015 after a long illness.

Lee was born September 19, 1947 in London and studied at Prendergast Grammar School, Catford, London, and at an art college in the city. After working for a while as a library assistant in London, she became a freelance writer in 1975. Her first published books were children’s fantasies The Dragon Hoard (1971) and Animal Castle (1972). Her first adult fantasy, The Birthgrave (1975), launched a prolific career in adult fantasy, SF, and horror encompassing numerous series, among them Birthgrave, Blood Opera, Tales from the Flat Earth, Secret Books of Paradys, Unicorn, War of Vis, Claidi Journals, Lionwolf, and children’s series Piratica.

She received the British Fantasy Society’s August Derleth Award in 1980 for Death’s Master (1979). Notable standalone works include YA fantasy Gold Unicorn (1994), SF novel Eva Fairdeath (1994), horror novel Vivia (1995), alternate history Victorian fantasy Reigning Cats and Dogs (1995), contemporary fantasy When the Lights Go Out (1996), historical novel The Gods Are Thirsty (1996), fairytale novel White as Snow (2000), epic fantasy Mortal Suns (2004), and YA Indigara; Or, Jet and Otis Conquer the World (2007). In all, she produced more than 90 books.

Lee was also an adept short fiction writer, who won World Fantasy Awards for stories “The Gorgon” (1982) and “Elle es Trois (La Mort)” (1983). Some of her short work has been collected in Red as Blood (1983), Dreams of Dark and Light (1986), Night’s Sorceries (1988), The Book of the Damned (1989), Nightshades (1993), Tempting the Gods (2009) Animate Objects (2013), and Space Is Just a Starry Night (2014), among others.

Lee was named a World Horror Grandmaster in 2009, was presented with the World Fantasy Award for life achievement in 2013, and won the Bram Stoker Award for life achievement in 2015.

She is survived by her husband, the writer and artist John Kaiine, married 1992.