by S.P. Hendrick
Tanith Lee was a rare and gracious lady, a prodigious writer, and an inspiration. Her works number in the hundreds, ranging from episodes of the iconic UK series “Blake’s 7” to children’s books, from a French historical novel to vampire and pirate stories, each one filled with her own distinctive style and luscious prose, but the main focus of her life was fantasy in all its sub-genres.
She was born September 19, 1947 to Bernard and Hilda Lee, professional dancers. She became an avid reader and had a strong urge to write, selling her first work, a ninety word vignette called “Eustace” at the age of 21. She passed away May 24, leaving behind a husband, artist ad writer John Kaiine, and a veritable library of her works including 90 novels and more then 300 short stories.
I had the rare privilege of meeting her at the World Fantasy Convention in 2013 on the day before she received the Lifetime Achievement award. She stopped me to compliment me on the clothing I was wearing and I slipped her a card from the manufacturer, Holy Clothing. We chatted for some time about the difficulty of mature women finding clothing that wasn’t designed for a teenager, the convention, writing and other things. I will always remember her warmth, her contagious smile, and that glorious mane of silver hair.
Rest in peace, Tanith Lee. You are missed already.
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