Deborah Harkness

Deborah Harkness

Deborah Harkness

Deborah Harkness
Harkness at the 2018 U.S. National Book Festival
OccupationScholar, novelist
EducationMount Holyoke CollegeNorthwestern UniversityUniversity of California at Davis
GenreFantasyhistorical fiction
Notable worksA Discovery of Witches
Shadow of Night
The Book of Life
Time’s Convert
 “Science and the Supernatural in the 17th Century”, Deborah Harkness & Jim Voelkel, Science History Institute

Deborah Harkness (born 1965) is an American scholar, novelist and wine enthusiast, best known as a historian and as the author of the All Souls Trilogy, which consists of The New York Times best-selling novel A Discovery of Witches and its sequels Shadow of Night and The Book of Life. Her latest book is Time’s Convert, both an origin story of the trilogy’s Marcus Whitmore character, set in the American War of Independence and the French Revolution, and a sequel to the All Souls Trilogy.


Early life[edit]

Born in 1965, Harkness grew up near PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, the daughter of an American-born father and a British-born mother.[1] She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College (B.A., 1986), Northwestern University (M.A., 1990), and the University of California, Davis (Ph.D., 1994).[2] Harkness also studied abroad at Oxford University. She is a well-regarded historian of science and medicine,[3] as well as having studied alchemy, magic and the occult.


Harkness is a professor of history and teaches European history and the history of science[4] at the University of Southern California.[5] She has published two works of historical non-fictionJohn Dee’s Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy and the End of Nature (1999) and The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution (2007).[5]

In 2011, Harkness published her first work of fiction, A Discovery of Witches. The first novel in the All Souls trilogy, A Discovery of Witches is a historical fiction novel that tells the story of a modern-day witch who inadvertently calls up an ancient enchanted manuscript at Oxford University’s Bodleian Library[6] thereby attracting the unwelcome notice of a host of magical creatures who live among humans, including other witches, daemons, and a 1,500-year-old French vampire.[7][5] The novel debuted at number two on The New York Times Best Seller hardcover fiction list,[8] and has been sold in at least 34 countries.[9] The book was called “a sophisticated fairy tale for adults” by the San Antonio Express-News.[10] The second novel in the series, Shadow of Night, was published a year later, becoming a number one success on The New York Times Best Seller list.[11] The third novel in the series is called The Book of Life.[12] The book was published on July 15, 2014 in hardback, e-book, and audiobook in the US, UK, Canada, and Ireland.

Harkness at book signing, August 2014

On January 9, 2014, the United States front cover and a two-page excerpt were released to the public on USA Today. On May 12, 2014, chapter 1 was released on Harkness’ website.[13] Harkness is also the author of the award-winning wine blog, Good Wine Under $20.

Harkness released a companion book in May 2018 entitled The World of All Souls: The Complete Guide to A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy)The All Souls Trilogy — Time’s Convert in September 2018, set in the same universe and featuring secondary characters. The book stars Marcus Whitmore, Matthew Clairmont’s vampire son.[13]

Harkness is an executive producer of BadWolf’s eight episode television series based on Harkness’ novel, A Discovery of Witches. The series premiered in the UK on Sky One on September 14, 2018 and is now streaming on NOW TV.[14] The international distribution of the series is handled by Sky Vision.[15][16] It was revealed by Sky One on All Souls Day (November 2) 2018 that the TV series would be extended by seasons 2 and 3, presumably corresponding to the A Discovery of Witches sequels Shadow of Night and The Book of Life.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Harkness currently lives in Southern California where she teaches.[1]



All Souls trilogy[edit]

Companions to the trilogy[edit]

  • The All Souls Real-Time Reading Companion (2015)
  • The World of All Souls: A Complete Guide to A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and the Book of Life (2018)



Journal articles[edit]


Harkness’ faculty profile on the University of Southern California’s website lists the following honors and awards:[2]

  • Highly Commended, Longman-History Today Awards Book Prize, Spring 2009
  • Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Pfizer Award for Best Book in the History of Science, History of Science Society, Fall 2008
  • Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, John Best Snow Prize for Best Book in British Studies, North American Conference on British Studies, Fall 2008
  • Prize for Best Book, Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies, Spring 2008
  • Huntington Library Research Fellowship Recipient, National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, 2006–2007
  • Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient, John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 2004–2005
  • Residency at the National Humanities Center, National Humanities Center, John E. Sawyer Fellow, 2004–2005
  • NIH/NSF Career Development Award, National Science Foundation Senior Scholar’s Award, 2001–2002
  • Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Derek Price Award for Best Article, History of Science Society, 1998
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Recipient, ACLS Fellowship, 1997–1998
  • Huntington Library Research Fellowship Recipient, NEH Fellowship, Huntington Library, 1997–1998
  • Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Nelson Prize for Best Article, Renaissance Society of America, 1997
  • Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education, 1989–1993
  • Fulbright Award, Fulbright Fellowship to the United Kingdom, 1991–1992


  1. Jump up to:a b Timberg, Scott (April 10, 2011). “Deborah Harkness’ ‘A Discovery of Witches’ started with airport bookstores”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Faculty Profile: Deborah Elizabeth Harkness”Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and SciencesUniversity of Southern California. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  3. ^ Hernandez-Vogt, Persephone (February 24, 2011). “Discovery of a writer: alum pens a preternatural tale”The Mount Holyoke News. Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved July 12,2012.
  4. ^ “Deborah Harkness: The All Souls Trilogy.” (February 10, 2014). <>
  5. Jump up to:a b c Gressitt, Kit-Bacon (February 20, 2011). “SoCal scholar bounds into the supernatural”North County Times. Archived from the original on August 31, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  6. ^ McGee, Celia (February 2011). “15 Books to Watch for in February 2011”Book Finder. p. 4. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  7. ^ Meyer, Michal (Fall 2011 – Winter 2012). “Facts and Fictions”Chemical Heritage Magazine29 (3): 40–41. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  8. ^ “Best Sellers”The New York TimesThe New York Times Company. February 27, 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  9. ^ Pellegrino, Nicky (April 11, 2011). “Deborah Harkness: Once bitten …” The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
  10. ^ Bennett, Steve (February 12, 2011). “A potent spell cast”San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  11. ^ “Best Sellers – Hardcover Fiction”The New York TimesThe New York Times Company. July 29, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  12. ^ “Deborah Harkness” Retrieved March 14,2018.
  13. Jump up to:a b “Deborah Harkness author of The All Souls Trilogy official website”Deborah Harkness. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  14. ^ “A Discovery of Witches streaming: How to watch A Discovery of Witches online”. Archived from the original on September 5, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  15. ^ “Sky Corporate”Sky. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  16. ^ “» A Discovery Of Witches” Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Kavey, Allison (Summer 2008). “London Calling”Chemical Heritage Magazine26 (2): 44. Retrieved March 26, 2018.

External links[edit]

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