Patricia McKillip

Patricia McKillip portrait image to appear alongside the Patricia McKillip biography.

Patricia Anne McKillip was born on the 29th February (a leap year), 1948 in Salem, Oregon. The sea coast of Oregon instilled a great love of the sea and the cliffs and she likes nothing more than walking along the beach and admiring the views. McKillip grew up as part of a very strong family, full of love and support. Her father was an Air Force officer and Patricia found herself living with her family in Germany and England between 1958 and 1962 and this gave her an insight into the outside world and their cultures and languages, elements of which she has incorporated into her fantasy novels.


Patricia McKillip received a Bachelor of Arts (English) in 1971 and a Master of Arts in 1973 from San Jose State University.


Patricia McKillip first began writing at the age of fourteen when she sat overlooking a medieval church and put together a thirty page fairy tale and discovered that she had an active imagination. In 1973, the same year in which she studied for her Master of Arts, saw the publication of her first two books, The Throme of the Erril of Sherril and The House on Parchment Street. It was in 1975, with the publication of The Forgotten Beasts of Eld that the literary world really sat up and took notice, especially when she was awarded the 1975 World Fantasy Award.

A deep love of music (McKillip is an accomplished pianist) runs through her work and there is also a decidedly culinary feel that points to her own love of cooking.

In an effort to counteract the male hero dominated fantasy genre McKillip wrote strong female characters and these, along with her great attention to detail has become her trademark.


The Forgotten Beasts of Eld won the World Fantasy Award in 1975 and Harpist in The Wind the Locus Award in 1980.

Patricia McKillip books reviewed


  • The Riddle-Master of Hed
    Long ago, the wizards had vanished from the world, and all knowledge was left hidden in riddles. Morgon, prince of the simple farmers of Hed, proved himself a master of such riddles when he staked his life to win a crown from the dead Lord of Aum. But now ancient, evil forces were threatening him. Shape changers began replacing friends until no man could be trusted. So Morgon was forced to flee to hostile kingdoms, seeking the High One who ruled from mysterious Erlenstar Mountain. Beside him went Deth, the High One's Harper. Ahead lay strange encounters and terrifying adventures. And with him always was the greatest of unsolved riddles - the nature of the three stars on his forehead that seemed to drive him toward his ultimate destiny.
  • Heir of Sea and Fire
    By the vow of her father and her own desire, Raederle was pledged to Morgon, Riddle-Master of Hed. But a year had passed since Morgon disappeared on his search for the High One at Erlenstar Mountain, and rumors claimed he was dead. Raederle set out to learn the truth for herself, though her small gift of magic seemed too slight for the perils she must face. The quest led through strange lands and dangerous adventures. Only her growing powers enabled her at last to reach Erlenstar Mountain. And there she discovered what she could not bear to accept. Accompanied by Deth, the High One's Harper, she fled. And behind them came a pursuer whose name was Morgon, bent on executing a grim destiny upon Raederle and Deth. Her only hope lay in summoning the Hosts of the Dead, led by the King whose skull she bore...
  • Harpist in the Wind
  • The House on Parchment Street (1973)
  • The Throme of the Erril of Sherril (1973)
  • The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (1974)
  • The Night Gift (1976)
  • The Riddle-Master of Hed (1976)
  • Heir of Sea and Fire (1977)
  • Harpist in the Wind (1979)
  • Riddle of Stars (1979)
  • Quest of Riddlemasters (1982)
  • Stepping from the Shadows (1982)
  • The Quest of the Riddlemaster (1983)
  • Something Rich and Strange (1984)
  • Moon-Flash (1984)
  • The Moon and the Face (1985)
  • Fool's Run (1987)
  • The Changeling Sea (1988)
  • The Sorceress and the Cygnet (1991)
  • The Cygnet and the Firebird (1993)
  • The Book of Atrix Wolfe (1995)
  • Winter Rose (1996)
  • Song for the Basilisk (1998)
  • Riddle-Master (1999)
  • The Tower at Stony Wood (2000)
  • The Riddle-Master's Game (2001)
  • Ombria in Shadow (2002)
  • In the Forests of Serre (2003)
  • Alphabet of Thorn (2004)
  • Od Magic (2005)
  • Harrowing the Dragon (2005)
  • Solstice Wood (2006)

Critical acclaim

"There are no better writers than Patricia A. McKillip" Stephen Donaldson