Mary Hoffman won a scholarship to James Allen’s Girls’ School in Dulwich, which she describes as “an exercise in punctuation in itself.” From there she went to the University of Cambridge to study English at Newnham College and then spent two years studying Linguistics at University College London. Since 1998 she has been an Honorary Fellow of the Library Association in 1998 for her work with children and schools. She worked at the Open University for nearly five years, contributing to courses for teachers on reading, language and children’s literature. For eighteen years she was Reading Consultant to BBC Schools TV’s Look and Read series and wrote the teaching scripts. She has been a freelance, self-employed professional writer and journalist since the mid-90s.
Mary lives with her husband Stephen Barber, whom she married in 1972, and three Burmese cats. They have three grown-up daughters, including the writer Rhiannon Lassiter. She moved from London to West Oxfordshire in 2001.
Mary Hoffman's first book was White Magic, published by Rex Collings in 1975. In total, she has written over 90 books, and now concentrates on longer books for teens, including the Stravaganza series and a new thread of historical novels.
The Stravaganza series published by Bloomsbury.
The fantasy novel Special Powers (1997) was republished in 2008 by Barn Owl Books.
The historical novel The Falconer's Knot (Bloomsbury, 2007) was shortlisted for The Guardian Children’s Book Award and North East Teenage Book Award.
Troubadour published by Bloomsbury (2009)
She has created 24 picture books, including the three books in the Grace series which have together sold over a million and a half copies. Amazing Grace, published in 1991, made the New York Times Bestseller lists.
Junior fiction and non-fiction
Mary Hoffman has written titles for junior readers' series, including Beware, Princess! the first title illustrated by the British illustrator Chris Riddell. She has also written children's non-fiction.
She has written re-tellings of myths and legends, fairy stories, nursery stories King Arthur and the Bible, including Women of Camelot, which tells the King Arthur stories from the points of view of the female characters. She has also edited collections of stories, including Lines in the Sand (2003) ... a response to the allied invasion of Iraq, with all funds raised donated to UNICEF in Iraq.
Books for adults
Mary Hoffman writes for adults under the names Amy Lovell and Suzy Cavendish. She has written adult non-fiction under her own name and the name Mary Lassiter.