Photograph: Claire Lewis
Sylvia Brownrigg was born in California, and grew up in Los Altos and Oxford. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and has an MA in writing from the Johns Hopkins University. She has taught at the American University in Paris, and has written for The Times, Guardian, Independent, Times Literary Supplement, New York Times, Salon.com, Village Voice, Newsday and Los Angeles Times. She is the author of many books including PAGES FOR YOU (2002), THE DELIVERY ROOM (2006) and MORALITY TALE (2008), all published by Picador, and the young adult novel KEPLER’S DREAM, which was published by Putnam in 2011.
Her new novel, PAGES FOR HER - a sequel to PAGES FOR YOU - was published by Picador in June 2017.
Praise for PAGES FOR HER (2017):
'Pages for Her is a complex portrait of two women's sexuality. In the romantic universe of Brownrigg’s novel, there is no either/or, no simple black and white. When characters - read people - are freed from the often blinding forces of personal obligation and private loss, a lust for intimacy takes over. In Pages for Her, Brownrigg gives us two accomplished women who, coming together after decades apart, understand that truth laid bare is best beguiled.' Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
'In this intense, compelling novel, Brownrigg writes vividly about passion rekindled in mid-life with the force of a tsunami. Pages for Her stands as a beautiful testament to human complexity, reminding us that fierce love comes in many forms, none of them mutually exclusive. A wonderful novel - completely engrossing.' Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs
'Brownrigg did something marvelous in Pages For You... Now, 15 years later, there is a sequel: Pages For Her... There is nothing of the parable in these two books. They are not allegories or lessons about how to be a queer woman in the world. It is not wrong to have babies, and it isn't wrong to marry men or not marry men. It is not wrong to be too young or too old, to be more or less into girls at whatever particular age one happens to be. For this simple reason, reading Brownrigg's novels feels like entering a fictional world that is less fussy, more real. Mainstream fiction could do with substantially more fiction about romance between teenagers and between middle-aged women... For now, we have these pages.' Jo Livingstone, New Republic
'Brownrigg approaches her characters with clarity and sensitivity, capturing the nuances in the women’s relationships to the people they love—as mother, daughter, sister, friend, wife, or lover—and the power they give those people to define and inspire them... [T]he story is propelled less by the thrill of the erotic than by the pull of loves lost and selves seemingly left behind yet always with us. Brownrigg considers motherhood, romance, identity, and the changes brought by time in this tender, insightful novel.' Kirkus Reviews
Reading Pages For Her is like going on the perfect date; it picks you up, impresses you with its knowledge, seduces you with its wit and soon sweeps you away into a different world. And if you're hungry for more, there's a special reissue of cult classic Pages For You, the story of the first encounter between Flannery and Anne.' Diva
Praise for MORALITY TALE (2008):
'Sylvia Brownrigg's humour is exhilarating... this is a pleasure from beginning to end' Daily Mail
'Divinely deadpan... a quiet, patient, witty tale' New York Times
'A superb novel' The Times
Kepler's Dream is Sylvia's first young adult novel and was published under the pseudonym Juliet Bell.
Flannery, a writer with one well-known rather racy book to her name, is, by her own admission, in a situation she never thought she'd be: married to a man who overshadows her and defined by her primary relationships as wife and mother. When Flannery is invited to a writers' conference she sees a chance to return to a world she knew well. And then she recognizes the name of the chair of the event: Anne Arden. Suddenly Flannery is thrown back twenty years to her eighteen-year-old self and the most intense love affair of her entire life.
On the other side of the world Anne is travelling for work. Recently out of a decades-long partnership, she feels adrift, unsettled. When a friend asks her to chair an event at a writers' conference she says yes and a couple of months later, on the same campus where they met and fell in love, Anne and Flannery are reunited. Though their lives have taken them in different and unexpected directions, the pull between them proves irresistible.
Elegant, clever, witty and sensual, Pages for Her is a novel about love, memory and what it is to be a woman, a wife, and a mother.
A married woman's stale daily routine is broken by an unexpected adulterous passion. Once it has begun, it cannot be extinguished but burns slowly and increasingly fiercely. From this simple premise, Brownrigg constructs an artful meditation on the exigencies of married life and the pros and cons of infidelity.
Winner of the 2009 Northern California Book Award in Fiction.
Told from the therapist's couch, this is a story about people, about life and death, about relationships, regrets and reconciliations.
Winner of a Lambda fiction award in 2002.
In a steam-filled diner in an east coast college town, Californian freshman Flannery Jansen catches sight of the most beautiful woman she's ever seen. A graduate student, reading. What follows is a passionate story of sexual and intellectual awakening..
A New York Times Notable Book and on the LA Times Book Review’s list of fictions of the year.
To Emily Piper (Pi) philosophy means a safe, hushed place where people talk about important things. Pi is a homeless philosopher, whereas JD is a Hamlet looking for his Horatio as he threatens suicide on the Internet.
Weidenfeld and Nicolson
Across a series of vivid, untamed landscapes, Brownrigg's characters wander in search of the obvious—love, fame, a good recipe for canapes—as well as the less obvious. In "Hussie from the West" the narrator understakes a long erotic quest for satisfaction; in "Amazon" a pair of women build the pyramids and several other of the world’s wonders. Wherever these maverick women travel, their bold, comical voices urge us to follow.
Included in the 2000 Los Angeles Times Book Review's selections of best fictions of the year.
Film, TV & Theatre
Sylvia Brownrigg is represented by St John Donald for dramatic rights.