Maria Semple: Biography

Maria Semple

21 maj 1964

Although Maria Semple was born in California, she moved to Spain with her family when she was very young. She spent the first years of her life on the road with her family, travelling through Europe. Her father was the renowned screenwriter Lorenzo Eliot Jr., so the family soon had to move to Los Angeles for him to work on the Batman television series. Once her father had become more established in his profession, Semple and her family finally settled in Aspen, Colorado. Semple herself was sent away to boarding school, which she claims to have enjoyed very much, before attending Barnard College to study English.

Semple started writing for television well before she attempted to write a novel. The practice of writing for screen has clearly had an influence on her works as a novelist. In an interview with Literary Affairs, Semple revealed that Choderlos de Laclos’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses is one of her all-time favourite books. She explained that she has drawn influences from classic epistolary novels such as this one when writing her own books.

Semple has a daughter, Poppy (born 2003), with the television writer and producer George Meyer. Semple is passionate about the environment and about protecting the planet, so much so that in 2007, a previously undiscovered species of Sri Lankan frog was named after her daughter Poppy. This was a direct result of Semple and Meyer’s support of the Global Amphibian Assessment. Maria Semple now lives with Meyer and her daughter in Seattle where she is currently teaching students about writing.