Sara Maitland

One of Elif Shafak’s selected writers for the International Literature Showcase


“Writer, thinker, seeker, seer, Sara Maitland is one of our most articulate and probing intellects, with an enervating ability to look closely at things and make us look with her.”

Elif Shafak

Lives on her own in as much silence as possible on a high moor in S.W.Scotland

Sara Maitland was born in 1950, the second of six children. She studied English Literature at Oxford University. Her first novel, Daughter of Jerusalem, won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1978. Since then she has published novels, non-fiction (especially theology) and short stories. She has two children and a granddaughter, but lives on her own in as much silence as possible on a high moor in S.W.Scotland.

Sara is presently working on a book about astronomy and Greek mythology with Granta Press.

Sarah discussing belief on BBC Radio 3 Interview in The Daily Telegraph Interview in the Guardian

‘The question at the heart of this beautiful, thoughtful book is: how did forests form fairy tales and how have fairy tales influenced the way we feel about forests? It mixes social history with natural history, literary criticism with fiction … Maitland is incredibly good at taking us with her on journeys through the woods, as she examines her emotional responses … As a follow-up to Maitland’s sublime The Book of Silence, it’s a worthy successor. As something to read on dark nights as the wind lashes the leaves from the trees, it’s damn near perfect’ Independent on Gossip From the Forest

 ‘A Book of Silence grapples with ideas at the very heart of what it is to be human, and Sara Maitland is a joyous champion of the countercultural notion that silence is more than simply an absence of noise’ -The Times On A Book of Silence

‘Maitland’s experience has been rich and thorough, and deeply enviable. Her book is probably unique in its subject, and timely, because good, healing silence is becoming hard to find, and we may not know we need it’ – Guardian on A Book of Silence

‘She has built bridges that may tempt new minds across to science. How ingenious.’ –The Guardian on Moss Witch and Other Stories

‘Remarkable… refreshingly different… this collection abounds with revelations for writer, scientist and reader alike.’ –The Irish Times on Moss Witch and Other Stories 

Dead chuffed.




  • Daughter of Jerusalem (Blond and Briggs, 1978) Novel. Winner Somerset Maugham
  • Award. 1978 (US publication – Henry Holt, NYC).)
  • Tales I Tell My Mother (Journeyman Press, 1978) with Zoe Fairbairns, Valerie Miner,
  • Michele Roberts, Michelene Wandor.  Short story collective.
  • Telling Tales: short stories (Journeyman Press. 1983.)
  • Weddings and Funerals (Brilliance Books, 1984) with Aileen la Tourette.
  • Virgin Territory. (Michael Joseph 1984)
  • More Tales I Tell My Mother (Journeyman Press 1987)  (see above.)
  • A Book of Spells:  short stories:  (Michael Joseph. 1987)
  • Arky Types – a novel (Methuen 1987.)  with Michelene Wandor.
  • Three Times Table (Chatto, 1990 USA, Henry Holt.)
  • Home Truths (Chatto 1993.  USA as Ancestral Truths, Henry Holt)  – short listed for
  • The McVitie Prize [Scottish Writer of the Year]
  • Women Fly When Men Aren’t Watching:  short stories (Virago 1993)
  • Angel and Me  (Cassells, 1995.)
  • Angel Maker – collected short stories (Henry Holt. USA 1996.)
  • Brittle Joys  (Virago 1999)
  • On Becoming a Fairy Godmother  (Maia Press, 2003) short stories
  • Far North  (Maia Press, 2008) (short stories)
  • Stations of the Cross with Chris Gollon (Continuum, 2009)
  • Moss witch and other stories Comma Press) 2013


  • Map of the New Country (RKP. 1983)
  • Walking on the Water: women talk about spirituality (Virago 1983) ed. with Jo Garcia
  • Vesta Tilley: a cultural study. (Virago, 1986)
  • Very Heaven: women’s lives in the 1960s. Editor  (Virago, 1988)
  • The Rushdie File (Fourth Estate, 1989) ed. with Lisa Appignanesi.
  • A Big Enough God (Cassells, 1994; USA Henry Holt.)
  • Virtuous Magic (Cassells 1998) with Wendy Mulford
  • Gardens of Illusion (Cassells, 2000) with Peter Matthews
  • Pandora’s Box and The Ancient Egypt Pack (Duncan Baird 1995 & 97) text only.
  • Paper engineering boxed works.
  • The Writer’s Way  (creative writing course book.) Arcturus 2005
  • The Write Guide a national report on good practice and recommendations for future development of writer mentoring. With Martin Goodman. (New Writing North/ Literature Training Scotland – Sept 2007.)
  • A Book of Silence (Granta, 2008)
  • Gossip from the Forest (Granta 2012)
  • How to be Alone with School of Life (Pan Macmillan 2014.)

Contact Sara




Jenny Brown.  [email protected]


Non-fiction: Granta Books  Pru Rowlandson

Short stories:  Comma Press. Ra Page.


Image credit Adam Lee