Claire Harman

Non-fiction writer


Claire Harman began her career in publishing, at Carcanet Press and the Manchester-based poetry magazine, PN Review, where she was co-ordinating editor. After working on the poems and diaries of the novelist Sylvia Townsend Warner, she was commissioned to write the first biography of Warner, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys prize in 1990. She went on to publish biographies of Fanny Burney (2000), Robert Louis Stevenson (2005) and Charlotte Brontë (2015), as well as Jane’s Fame (2009), a study of Jane Austen’s legacy and influence.

Claire has lived in Oxford for twenty-five years, bringing up three children and working as a freelance writer with jobs in copy-editing, proofreading and book reviewing (mostly for the Evening Standard, the TLS and the Guardian). She has taught English and creative writing at the universities of Manchester, Oxford and Columbia (in New York City) and has recently been appointed professor in creative writing at Durham. A private poet for years, she has published little but won a Forward prize in 2015 and now has a pamphlet from Clutag, Five Poems. She also writes short stories, and won the Tom-Gallon award for short fiction in 2016.

Claire has been a member of authors’ professional bodies all her writing life and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2006. In 2016 she became president of the Alliance of Literary Societies and is now leading it in a campaign to support public libraries across the UK.

Her next book concentrates on an infamous Victorian murder and its connections with the London literati.

More from Claire Harman

Claire Harman
Image credit: Caroline Forbes

Claire Harman

Non-fiction writer




  • St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford, 2017–2018