Philippa Gregory

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Philippa Gregory

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in Kenya
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Philippa Gregory is one of the world’s foremost historical novelists. She wrote her first ever novel, Wideacre, when she was completing her PhD in eighteenth-century literature and it sold worldwide, heralding a new era for historical fiction.

Her flair for blending history and imagination developed into a signature style and Philippa went on to write many bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl and The White Queen.

Now a recognised authority on women’s history, Philippa graduated from the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she is a Regent and was made Alumna of the Year in 2009. She holds honorary degrees from Teesside University and the University of Sussex. She is a fellow of the Uni
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Popular Answered Questions

Philippa Gregory I have a very strict rule on this! No woman should wish to live before 1960 – life without reliable contraception was always a constant anxiety. No wo…moreI have a very strict rule on this! No woman should wish to live before 1960 – life without reliable contraception was always a constant anxiety. No woman who wants political power could be happy before we got the vote in the 1920s. No woman wanting an education should live in any period before women were admitted to universities and could graduate – so the 1920s for the UK. No married woman could own her own property before 1870 – you fundamentally became part of your husband's estate. In short, despite the dresses and the jewels for the upper classes the best time to be a woman in the western world is probably now. (less)
Philippa Gregory Alas, poor me! I really hate the sort of trolling that occurs from time to time, and I am amazed at the tone that people think appropriate to write ab…moreAlas, poor me! I really hate the sort of trolling that occurs from time to time, and I am amazed at the tone that people think appropriate to write about someone, or even to write to them. A lot of the most spiteful people are not trained historians – so they haven't learned the habit of detachment from the subject – they write as if they are defending an unjustly accused personal friend, whereas the reputation of these characters is something which can be rightly and carefully considered, and the people lived 500 years ago! At all the universities where I have taught or studied there is an absolute commitment to scholarly discussion which should never be personal or rude, and is supposed to get you – by the exchange of views and information – to a greater truth. So it is surprising and even shocking when people just rant. But often they forget that the books are novels, they are fiction and though based on fact they are supposed to be works of literature with their own narrative arc and language. I am not obliged to record everything that happened or even the whole of the life. The other thing that people seem to forget is that the books are almost all written from a point of view – often it's not what I think of a character, but what the narrator thinks of a character. You can see this really well in the contrast between The White Queen which was written from the point of view of Elizabeth Woodville, and The Red Queen which was written from the point of view of Margaret Beaufort. Their opinions of each other are those of rivals and sometimes friends and ultimately enemies – but I don't think of Elizabeth Woodville as a conniving sexually manipulative witch – that's Margaret Beaufort's opinion. My job is to get into her head, so as to invite the reader into her head and let the reader see the world through Margaret Beaufort's eyes with her prejudices and her mistakes. AND (as if this weren't complicated enough) Margaret Beaufort does not know all the history that I know, she does not know what happens after her death, so her account of the times is not what I would write if I were writing history. She's a fictional character in my novel and her view is a fictional account from a very limited idiosyncratic point of view. And finally – sorry for such a long answer – I think the controversy is the downside of success. More than 9 million people read my books – naturally a proportion of them won't enjoy them, or prefer one to another, or prefer the tv or the films. But on the other hand I enjoy a lot of praise and I get great reviews and I number some of the great historians of the period among my personal friends. The best response is from the readers who have been inspired to study history and read the records that I use for research so that they can find out for themselves what they think a character was like. That's so much more interesting than trying to shout other people down.(less)
Average rating: 3.92 · 1,506,898 ratings · 77,774 reviews · 99 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Other Boleyn Girl (The ...

4.06 avg rating — 461,891 ratings — published 2001 — 139 editions
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3.94 avg rating — 157,729 ratings — published 2009 — 109 editions
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3.91 avg rating — 151,651 ratings — published 2005 — 83 editions
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3.86 avg rating — 90,855 ratings — published 2003 — 74 editions
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The Lady of the Rivers (The...

4.01 avg rating — 67,146 ratings — published 2011 — 75 editions
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The Red Queen (The Plantage...

3.79 avg rating — 63,945 ratings — published 2010 — 93 editions
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3.71 avg rating — 50,733 ratings — published 2004 — 67 editions
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3.66 avg rating — 43,044 ratings — published 2008 — 58 editions
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3.90 avg rating — 37,924 ratings — published 2013 — 61 editions
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More books by Philippa Gregory…

Gardens for the Gambia update

Today, with huge pride in all the work that we have done, my partner in The Gambia and I have closed our charity and NGO Gardens for the Gambia. Those of you who have followed the progress of this little charity with big effects will know how much it has meant to me.

I founded it in 1994 by accident more than design, with a gift to a small rural school of the price of digging a well in the schoolya Read more of this blog post »
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Published on December 15, 2020 06:55 Tags: gardens-for-the-gambia
The Lady of the Rivers The White Queen The Red Queen The Kingmaker's Daughter The White Princess The Constant Princess The King's Curse
(15 books)
by
3.94 avg rating — 1,340,011 ratings

The Constant Princess Three Sisters, Three Queens The Other Boleyn Girl The Boleyn Inheritance The Taming of the Queen The Queen's Fool The Virgin's Lover
(8 books)
by
3.95 avg rating — 931,162 ratings

The White Queen The Red Queen The Lady of the Rivers The Kingmaker's Daughter The White Princess The King's Curse
(6 books)
by
3.93 avg rating — 390,944 ratings

Wideacre The Favored Child Meridon
(3 books)
by
3.50 avg rating — 44,523 ratings

Tidelands Dark Tides
(2 books)
by
3.80 avg rating — 16,670 ratings

More series by Philippa Gregory…

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Tidelands by Philippa Gregory
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Philippa Gregory answered Janine's question: Philippa Gregory
Alas, poor me! I really hate the sort of trolling that occurs from time to time, and I am amazed at the tone that people think appropriate to write about someone, or even to write to them. A lot of the most spiteful people are not trained historians See Full Answer
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Patty Just finished the last of the Tudor books...The Virgins's Lover...I am sad...in a state of depression. I am stuck in the 1500's in England etc and can ...more
May 04, 2017 08:24AM
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Kathleen Your books always set me off to learn more about the history. You are correct, it’s important to remember the books are fiction and enjoy. Once I have ...more
Apr 30, 2020 11:11PM
Philippa Gregory made a comment in the group Ask Philippa GregoryAsk Philippa Gregory topic
" Dear All - this has been such a pleasure to talk with you all. I am so sorry that I couldn't answer every question, but it's been fun to spend most of ...more "
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More of Philippa's books…
“For Harry Potter I have all the time in the world.”
Philippa Gregory

“You can smile when your heart is breaking because you're a woman.”
Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl

“If it means something, take it to heart. If it means nothing, it's nothing. Let it go.”
Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl

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125481 Ask Philippa Gregory — 883 members — last activity Oct 30, 2017 05:29PM
Here's your opportunity to have your questions answered by queen of historical fiction, Philippa Gregory. Philippa will be answering your questions ab ...more



Comments (showing 1-3)    post a comment »
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Elizabeth(The Book Whisperer) I am such a huge fan! I love historical fiction so much, and your books are just perfect!


message 2: by Kellee (last edited Jan 28, 2013 08:57PM)

Kellee Farr I can never express the influence your work has had in my life. I struggled with reading anything above a young adult level (even into my late twenties)until I was given The Other Boleyn Girl. Thank you! I am dyslexic and the effort was never worth the story, until I found your work. I have never been drawn into a story as I was with that novel. You are a master at your craft, thank you for the influence you have had in my life!

What a great surprise to find out I have not purchased everything you have written. I can't wait to finish my collection and get lost in your world.


message 1: by Beth

Beth Hi Philippa,
Thanks for befriending this fellow author here on Goodreads! I looooove your books. :)


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