Catherynne M Valente

Catherynne M. Valente was born in Seattle in 1979. She graduated from high school at age 15, going on to UC San Diego and Edinburgh University, receiving her B.A. in Classics with an emphasis in Ancient Greek Linguistics.

She currently lives on a small island off the coast of Maine.

Her first novel, The Labyrinth, was published in 2004, and her second, Yume no Hon: The Book of Dreams was released in the summer of 2005. Her third novel, The Grass-Cutting Sword, came out in the summer of 2006. Prime has also published two collections of her poetry, Apocrypha, and Oracles. Her third volume of poetry, The Descent of Inanna, was published early in 2006.

The Orphan's Tales, a duology of original fairy tales, was released in the fall of 2006. Volume I, In the Night Garden, went on to win the James Tiptree Jr. Award for the expansion of gender and sexuality in speculative fiction, and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award. Volume II, In the Cities of Coin and Spice, came out in the fall of 2007. The Orphan's Tales won the Mythopoeic Award for adult literature in 2008.

Palimpsest was published in February 2009 and her first short story collection, Ventriloquism, will be released by PS Publishing in late 2010.

The latest project that she's working on, a novel retelling of the Russian fairy tales of Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless set in Stalinist Russia will be released from Tor in 2011.

Catherynne M Valente books reviewed


  • The Labyrinth (2004)
  • The Ice Puzzle (2004)
  • Yume No Hon: The Book of Dreams (2005)
  • The Grass-Cutting Sword (2006)
  • Palimpsest (2009)
    Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse—a voyage permitted only to those who’ve always believed there’s another world than the one that meets the eye. Those fated to make the passage are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single orgasmic night. To this kingdom of ghost trains, lion-priests, living kanji, and cream-filled canals come four travelers: Oleg, a New York locksmith; the beekeeper November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a young Japanese woman named Sei. They’ve each lost something important—a wife, a lover, a sister, a direction in life—and what they will find in Palimpsest is more than they could ever imagine.
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (2009)