Marina Warner is a novelist, historian, critic, mythographer and academic. She is currently Weidenfeld Professor of Comparative European Literature at St. Anne’s College, Oxford and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is best known for her many non-fiction books relating to feminism and mythography, and for subjects on the hinterland between historicity and fact, which include her early studies Alone of All her Sex: The myth and cult of the Virgin Mary (1976) and Joan of Arc: The image of Female Heroism (1981). Her recent explorations of story-telling and mythology include, Once Upon a Time – a short history of the Fairy Tale (2014) and her epic study Stranger Magic: Charmed States and The Arabian Nights (2011) which won three major awards. She published her third collection of short stories Fly Away Home, in 2015. She contributes essays and reviews about literature and art to the international press including the London Review of Books.
Marina became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1984 and gave the 1994 Reith Lectures on ‘Managing Monsters’. She holds eleven honorary doctorates and has won many awards of which the most recent was the Holberg Prize in 2015.
She chaired the Man Booker International Prize in 2015, whereby the five judges trawled world literature for authors. Marina was educated at a catholic convent and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford where she read English and Italian and is now an honorary fellow.
Of her approach to storytelling, she has written: “Stories come from the past but speak to the present, and I have found that I need to write stories as well as de-construct them and place them in historical context, because I myself love reading works of imagination, and I would like to join the conversation with admired predecessors, who range from Apuleius to Virginia Woolf, Italo Calvino and Angela Carter.”
Amongst many eminent honorary appointments, Marina is a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, a Quondam Fellow of All Souls’ College, Oxford, a patron of Reprieve, the Society for Storytelling and Bloodaxe Books.
Marina was made a Dame in 2015.
She became a patron of Hosking Houses Trust in 2006