Born on April 1st (1926), Anne McCaffrey has tried to live up to her auspicious natal day. Her first novel was written in Latin class and might have brought her instant fame, as well as an A, if she had written it in that ancient language. Much chastened, she turned to the stage and became a character actress, appearing in the first successful summer music circus in Lambertsville, New Jersey. She studied music for nine years and, during that time, became intensely interested in the stage direction of opera and operetta, ending that phase of her experience with the direction of the American premiere of Carl Orff's Ludus de Nato Infante Mirificus in which she also played a witch.
By the time the three childern of her marriage were comfortably in school most of the day, she had already achieved enough success with short stories to devote herself full time to writing. Her first novel, Restoree, was written as a protest against the absurd and unrealistic portrayals of women in the science fiction novels of the fifties. It is, however, in the handling of broader themes and the worlds of her imagination, particularly the two series (Helva, The Ship Who Sang, and the novels about the Dragonriders of Pern) that Ms McCaffrey's talents as a storyteller are best displayed. One of the world's leading science fiction writers, she has won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, the E.E. 'Doc' Smith, the Golden Pen, and has been seven times a winner of the Science Fiction Book Club Award.
Between her appearences in the States, Britain, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Alaska as a lecturer in secondary schools and universities, and guest-of-honour at science fiction conventions Ms McCaffrey lives in a house of her own design, Dragonhold-Underhill (because she had to dig out a hill on her farm to build it) in County Wicklow, Ireland. She runs a private livery stable and her three-day-event horses have been successful in international compititions. She does not do the competition riding, she hastens to add, but enjoys the success of horse and rider and the occasional canter on her favourite mount, a black and white mare named Pi.
Of herself, Ms McCaffrey warns: 'My eyes are green, my hair is silver and I freckle; the rest is still subject to change without notice.'
Ms McCaffrey graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College, majoring in Slavonic Languages and Literatures.
Ms McCaffrey died 21st November 2011 aged 85.