Susanna Clarke was born in Nottingham in 1959, the eldest daughter of a Methodist Minister. A nomadic childhood was spent in towns in Northern England and Scotland. She was educated at St Hilda's College, Oxford, and has worked in various areas of non-fiction publishing, including Gordon Fraser and Quarto. In 1990 she left London and went to Turin to teach English to stressed-out executives of the Fiat motor company. The following year she taught English in Bilbao.
She returned to England in 1992 and spent the rest of that year in County Durham, in a house that looked out over the North Sea. There she began working on her first novel, JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORRELL. Published by Bloomsbury in October 2004, JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORRELL has attracted much pre-publication praise, including this description from Neil Gaiman:
'JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORRELL is unquestionably the finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last seventy years. It's funny, moving, scary, otherworldly, practical and magical, a journey through light and shadow --- a delight to read, both for the elegant and precise use of words, which Ms Clarke deploys as wisely and dangerously as Wellington once deployed his troops, and for the vast sweep of the story, as tangled and twisting as old London streets or dark English woods. It is a huge book, filled with people it is a delight to meet, and incidents and places one wishes to revisit, which is, from beginning to end, a perfect pleasure. Closing JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORRELL after 800 pages my only regret was that it wasn't twice the length.'
From 1993 to 2003 Susanna Clarke was an editor at Simon and Schuster's Cambridge office, where she worked on their cookery list. She has published seven short stories and novellas in US anthologies. One, The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse, first appeared in a limited-edition, illustrated chapbook from Green Man Press. Another, Mr Simonelli, or The Fairy Widower, was shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award in 2001.
JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL has been longlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize.
The book has also been longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.
Susanna lives in Cambridge with her partner, the novelist and reviewer Colin Greenland.