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Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters - Torch Theatre Patron

'I grew up in Neyland, five miles from Milford Haven, and went to school at Milford Grammar. I first began a connection with the Torch Theatre as a teenager in the early 1980s, when, for four or five years, pretty much every week, I did front-of-house volunteering - selling programmes, taking tickets and showing patrons to their seats. Crucially, this involved sitting in on the performances along with the audience, meaning that I got to experience a huge range of plays and films that, in south west Wales, far from big-city theatres and cinemas, I would never otherwise have had the chance to see. Those early experiences at the Torch instilled in me a passion for theatre, cinema and fiction-making that has never left me. Without the Torch Theatre, I would literally not be the person or the author I am today. In the decades since the 1980s, the Torch has gone on being a brilliant centre for the arts for the people of Pembrokeshire, bringing the excitement of theatre, cinema, music and dance to the local community and beyond, just as it brought it to me. It’s a fantastic, vibrant resource that must be preserved, celebrated and cherished.’

Sarah Waters was born in Wales in 1966. She has a Ph.D. in English Literature and has been an associate lecturer with the Open University.

She has written six novels: TIPPING THE VELVET (1998), which won a Betty Trask Award; AFFINITY (1999), which won the Somerset Maugham Award, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday / John Llewellyn Rhys Prize; FINGERSMITH (2002), which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize, and won the South Bank Show Award for Literature and the CWA Historical Dagger; THE NIGHT WATCH (2006), which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize; THE LITTLE STRANGER (2009), which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the South Bank Show Literature Award; and THE PAYING GUESTS (2014), which was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

She was included in Granta's prestigious list of 'Best of Young British Novelists 2003', and in the same year was voted Author of the Year by both publishers and booksellers at the British Book Awards and the BA Conference, and won the Waterstones Author of the Year Award. In April 2015 she joined the Council of the Society of Authors. She was named Writer of the Decade at the Stonewall Awards in late 2015.

 TV and film adaptations include TIPPING THE VELVET (multi-award-winning, BAFTA nominated) by Sally Head Productions for BBC; FINGERSMITH (BAFTA nominated) by Sally Head Productions for BBC; AFFINITY (several awards worldwide) by Box TV for ITV; THE NIGHT WATCH for BBC. FINGERSMITH was the inspiration for Park Chan-Wook's Academy Award-winning feature film THE HANDMAIDEN, while THE LITTLE STRANGER was recently adapted as a feature film with Potboiler Productions, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and with a screenplay by Lucinda Coxon.

 Sarah co-wrote an original stage show with Christopher Green, The Frozen Scream, which premiered in December 2014 at the Cardiff Millennium Centre and Birmingham Hippodrome.

A stage adaptation of FINGERSMITH (written by Alexa Junge, directed by Bill Rauch) premiered at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in February 2015; and TIPPING THE VELVET (written by Laura Wade and directed by Lyndsey Turner for the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith and the Edinburgh Lyceum) premiered on 19th September 2015. A play based on THE NIGHT WATCH (written by Hattie Naylor) premiered at the Royal Exchange, Manchester in May 2016.

Sarah Waters lives in London.

"One of the best storytellers alive today."– Matt Thorne, Independent on Sunday 

"Joining Virginia Woolf and Jeanette Winterson as the most significant queer British women writers of all time, Sarah Waters’ page-turning historical novels open up the past as a place of daring nonconformity and thrum with lesbian eroticism." - GQ


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