Katherine Sturtevant

I grew up in California’s Santa Clara Valley.  When we moved there I was five years old, and the valley was filled with fruit orchards.  The house I lived in was a big, eccentric place, built in part by my father and his friends. It had a huge brick fireplace, a screened-in porch where we ate and sometimes slept in summer, a "secret" recess in one of the bedrooms where Easter nests were always hidden, and dozens of built-in bookshelves.  The house sat on three acres of land dotted with fruit trees and outbuildings.  I had a dozen favorite places to lie reading.
I come from a book-loving family.  My grandmother worked at the Library of Congress during the 1940s and later owned an antiquarian bookshop.  My mother was a school librarian for many years and always brought home wonderfully written stories, many of them set in other eras.

I was a writer from an early age.  I wrote stories, poems, and plays; I wrote them for school and I wrote them on summer vacation.  My grandmother gave me a portable typewriter for Christmas when I was twelve.  After that, it traveled with me on every camping trip we took.  I would sit at a picnic table, under evergreens, and turn our humdrum vacations into tales of heroic rescues or martyred pets.
By the time I was in high school, the fruit orchards in the valley had given way to housing tracts and electronics plants.  One night, when I was sixteen years old, our big funny house burned to the ground.  A few days later we walked through the rubble to see what could be salvaged.  Little remained: the remnants of the stove, the piano keys, and hundreds and hundreds of scorched books strewn among the ashes.
So the place I grew up in is now gone.  Of course, so are many of my favorite places, including colonial Boston, biblical Palestine, and Restoration London.  But the books I read when I was growing up are still with me, and will be with me forever.
 
KATHERINE STURTEVANT studied creative writing at San Francisco State University, where she received her B.A. in 1976 and her M.A. in 1993. Her articles and reviews have been published in The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Jose Mercury-News, The Willamette Week, and Calyx.  She lives in Berkeley with her husband, her twin sons, and two Maine Coon cats.


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The Brothers Story

Katherine Sturtevant
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Teenage twins Kit and Christy have grown up amid grinding poverty in their Essex village. As Christy has been “simple” from birth, Kit is literally his...


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A True and Faithful Narrative

Katherine Sturtevant
Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR Paper

In Restoration London, sixteen-year-old Meg Moore is something of an anomaly. Unlike other girls her age, Meg pores over books. She spends long hours...


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At the Sign of the Star

Katherine Sturtevant
Sunburst Paperbacks

The tale of a bookseller's daughter Meg Moore is the motherless and only child of a bookseller with a thriving business in Restoration London-and that makes...


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