Inspirations 2 – Tamora Pierce

9 Feb

When I was about six years old I read a book called Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. This book changed my life and is, above all things, the reason I want to write.

Pierce writes novels for teenagers (I was a precocious reader) set in and around the fantasy kingdom of Tortall. The Song of the Lioness series follows the progress of a girl called Alanna of Trebond as she earns her knighthood in a realm where girls cannot be knights, and the years immediately following. I was hooked. The stories were full of swords and horses, magic and chivalry, and I wanted desperately to live in that world. I valued the sequence in different ways as I grew older – the stories contained a lot of growing-up stuff that I didn’t understand as a very young child, and I wouldn’t have understood the parts referring to sex, or indeed how much of a strong feminist statement the novels were.

(Side note – My mother actually bought In the Hand of the Goddess, the second book of the sequence, for my older brother

Matthew. I actually stole that. That makes this plus Jingo from my Terry Pratchett post that should have been Matt’s. Maybe I should switch from calling these posts ‘Inspirations’ to calling them ‘Things I Stole From My Brother’)

Pierce’s Tortall books went on to find other heroines – Daine, who has Wild Magic, Kel, who follows in Alanna’s footsteps but is known to be a girl from the start, and Aly, Alanna’s daughter, who goes on to become a master spy. All of them are strong female characters, and none of them are anything alike. Pierce’s variety of characters is really wonderful. She’s also taken a step into a very different narrative style with her latest books, the Beka Cooper sequence, as she has launched into first person, and the stories are written as a diary.

My first attempt at a chapter book was very clearly inspired by the Alanna books – all I can really remember about it is that I was eight and my main character was a page called ‘Karl of Lashertaneray’ (if anyone actually knows how to spell that place-name, could you let me know? It’s in France and I went when I was five…).

In conclusion, Tamora Pierce is great, and an inspiration to young girls in general and young writers in particular.

Tamora Pierce is an American writer who lives in Syracuse with her husband Tim Liebe. She was born in 1954 and her Song of the Lioness quartet was published in 1983. She loves animals and writes good feminist fiction for young adults.

I’m sorry if I’m less coherent than usual today, I’m still suffering from the virus detailed in my last post!


One Response to “Inspirations 2 – Tamora Pierce”


  1. What I’m Reading 1.0 « tapdancinglexicon - October 16, 2011

    […] also reading Tortall and Other Lands, a compilation of short stories by Tamora Pierce. They have a few stories which expand on things touched on in her Tortall stories, plus a few other […]

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