Tanith Lee (1947-2015)

Tanith Lee.  Photo by and copyright © Andrew I. Porter

Tanith Lee. Photo by and copyright © Andrew I. Porter

Tanith Lee, renowned British sf, horror and fantasy author, passed away May 24. She was 67.

Lee published over 90 novels and 300 short stories. She also wrote two episodes Blake’s 7 for the BBC.

Lee’s short fiction won two World Fantasy Awards (“The Gorgon,” 1983, and “Elle Est Trois, (La Mort),” 1984). She was the first woman to win the British Fantasy Award best novel award, for Death’s Master (1980).

Her first professional sale was “Eustace,” a 90 word vignette which appeared in The Ninth Pan Book Of Horror Stories (1968), edited by Herbert van Thal. That same year, a friend set in type one of her early short stories as an experiment with his printing press. According to Lee “there were about six copies” of the resulting book, titled The Betrothed. A copy was sent to the British Museum, which caused it to be listed in the British Museum General Catalogue Of Printed Books to the consternation of future collectors and bibliographers…

Tanith Lee was named a World Horror Grandmaster in 2009 by a vote of the World Horror Con membership. The World Fantasy Awards recognized her for Lifetime Achievement in 2013, and the Horror Writers Association gave her its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

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20 thoughts on “Tanith Lee (1947-2015)

  1. So sorry to hear it. Her works were an important part of my entry into fandom.

  2. She was a brilliant author and a blazing soul. I only had the good fortune of knowing her personally for a couple of years, after which I became a Reader From Afar…but I will certainly never forget her. We have lost one of our greats.

  3. @Peace
    Me, too. Drinking Sapphire Wine opened my mind and eyes in so many ways. Lots of other good work, too, so we still have that as a most worthy monument.

  4. Never sought out her work, but whenever I stumbled across one of her stories in an anthology, I was blown away.


  5. She was special. I almost got to work with her once and I regret that I wasn’t up to it at the time.

    I exclained aloud in consternation when I saw the headline. Her work will live on.

  6. She was represented in both Best British Horror 2014 and last year’s volume of The Mammoth Book of New Horror.

  7. “She did this not out of fear of him, but out of pity. Because she had come to see the ultimate terrible truth behind all others. Which was that the stupidity and avarice and hatred of mankind had finally begun to make him also stupid, avaricious, hating, and cruel beyond reason. Even though he was a god, a god of love.”
    ? Tanith Lee, Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer

    We will never see her like again.

  8. Andrew Porter: Was there a statement from her family or a coroner in the links you sent confirming what she might have died of?

  9. I loved everything about her and all of her words. We had a misunderstanding early on, I never got to know her as a result.

    I wish that I had, truly missed out on something important . . .

  10. Loved her work: jewelled descriptions, elegant prose, unusual and well-thought-out characters. HEART-BEAST the best werewolf story ever; almost a prose poem. She was kind enough to write a blurb for my first novel, SOMETHING RED. I had been reading her for decades, always with pleasure.

  11. I do not read much fantasy, but her stuff has been on my reading list. Her prose is fantastic. She was such a good writer, it was a pleasure to read a sentence with a semi-colon in it.


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