Sarah Perry: Biography

Sarah Perry

28 nov 1979

Sarah Perry is a British journalist, academic and novelist who was born in Chelmsford, England in 1979. She was raised by a family of extremely devout and dedicated Baptist Christians. As a result, Perry has spoken about how during her childhood and adolescence was not able to interact with contemporary culture at all and instead devoted all of her spare time to listening to classic music, reading the classics and engaging with the church. This dedication to classical literature at such an early age has definitely had a huge influence on her writing style as an author.

After leaving school, Perry attended Royal Holloway University, where she studied towards her PhD under the supervision of Sir Andrew Motion. In 2013, she was awarded the position of Writer in Residence at Gladstone’s Library.

Perry has had 2 novels published: After Me Comes the Flood (2014) and The Essex Serpent (2016). After Me Comes the Flood, Perry’s debut novel, was very highly-regarded and received excellent reviews. It is a book which recounts the tale of a man who his looking for his brother in the middle of a fierce drought. In the height of his search, he enters a strange and mysterious world.

The Essex Serpent is a modern gothic novel which tells the story of a series of characters whose lives are affected by the legend of the living fossil of a monstrous winged serpent on the coast of Essex. The novel was extremely well-received, winning a Costa Book Award and the Waterstones Book of the year title in 2016. In 2017, it was also longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for fiction.

Perry is a legal journalist by profession, and continues to work in this field. Her writing has been published in The Guardian, The Oldie and The Guardian, among others. She writes on topics other than the law, and in 2004 she was awarded the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize for Travel Writing for a piece that she wrote about her time travelling in the Philippines.