Stephen R. Lawhead, born July 2, 1950, is a best-selling American writer known for his works of fantasy, science fiction, and more recently, historical fiction, particularly Celtic historical fiction. He has written over 24 novels and numerous children's and non-fiction books.
He was born to Robert Eugene Lawhead and Lois Rowena Bissell Lawhead at Good Samaritan Hospital, Kearney, Nebraska. In 1968, Lawhead graduated from Kearney High and entered Kearney State College as an Art major. In 1969, while at Kearney State College, he wrote a weekly humour column for the college newspaper and was a frequent contributor of poetry and short stories to The Shore Anthology and The Antler. Lawhead met Alice Slaikeu in 1971 and married her in 1972. He graduated from Kearney State College in 1973 with B.A. in Art and then went on to enroll in Northern Baptist Theological Seminary for the winter semester of 1975. In 1976, Lawhead became an editorial assistant for Campus Life Magazine. In 2003, Stephen received an honorary doctorate from the University of Nebraska in Kearney.
In 1981, Lawhead began to author novels, initially fantasy and science fiction. His first trilogy, the "Dragon King trilogy", was a work of original fiction based loosely on Davidian themes. In 1986, he moved to Oxford, England to do research for The Pendragon Cycle, a reinterpretation of the legend of King Arthur in a Celtic setting combined with elements of Atlantis. Heavily rooted in the original Celtic source material which gave rise to the later and more familiar versions of the Arthurian legend, the series has received widespread critical acclaim for its creative retelling of the Arthur legend and historical credibility.
The first book in the series, Taliesin, won the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association's Gold Medallion Award for Fiction in 1988. Lawhead's research for The Pendragon Cycle sparked an interest in Celtic history and culture, especially Celtic Christianity, topics which have featured prominently in his work ever since.
"The Song of Albion" trilogy prompted a return to England (Lawhead having left in 1987). This was a series of books set between the Celtic Otherworld and present-day Britain. In the 1990s, he published Byzantium, a work of pure historical fiction, followed by "The Celtic Crusades" trilogy, set at the time of the Crusades, and then Avalon: The Return of King Arthur, a stand-alone related to the Pendragon Cycle.
In 2003 Lawhead published the novel Patrick: Son of Ireland, which follows the historical life of Saint Patrick. His latest project is the King Raven Trilogy - an authentic retelling of the Robin Hood legend. In 2008, the second book in the trilogy, Scarlet, won a Christy Award in the category of Visionary Fiction.
Lawhead's family also seem to have a talent for writing. Alice Slaikeu Lawhead co-wrote the Pilgrims Guide to the New Age and has written several works of non-fiction. His eldest son Ross Lawhead is co-author of the Hero! series, and is working on a young adult fantasy trilogy to be published in 2011. Stephen and Alice have one other son Drake Lawhead, to whom Stephen dedicated The Warlords of Nin, the second book in the Dragon King Trilogy.
Many of his books are in series following a common theme:
Dragon King trilogy:
In the Hall of the Dragon King (1982)
The Warlords of Nin (1983)
The Sword and the Flame (1984)
Empyrion I: The Search for Fierra (1985)
Empyrion II: The Siege of Dome (1986)
The Pendragon Cycle:
The Song of Albion:
The Paradise War (1991)
The Silver Hand (1992)
The Endless Knot (1993)
The Celtic Crusades:
The Iron Lance (1998)
The Black Rood (2000)
The Mystic Rose (2001)
King Raven Trilogy
Hero (With Ross Lawhead):
City Of Dreams (2003)
Rogue Nation (unpublished)
World Without End (unpublished)
Bright Empires (Upcoming Series):
The Skin Map (August 2010, ISBN 1-59554-804-1)
The Bone House (September 2011)
The Spirit Well (September 2012)
The Shadow Lamp (September 2013)
The Fatal Tree (September 2014)
He has also written several stand-alone novels:
Dream Thief (1983)
Avalon: The Return of King Arthur (1999) — related to the Pendragon Cycle
Patrick: Son of Ireland (2003)
The Brown Ears Books:
Brown Ears: The adventures of a lost-and-found rabbit (1988)
Brown Ears at Sea: More adventures of a lost-and-found rabbit (1990)
The Howard Books
Howard Had A Spaceship (1986)
Howard Had A Submarine (1987)
Howard Had A Hot Air Balloon (1988)
Howard Had A Shrinking Machine (1988)
The Riverbank Series
The Tale of Jeremy Vole (1990)
The Tale of Timothy Mallard (1990)
The Tale of Annabelle Hedgehog (1990)
The Ultimate College Student Handbook (1989) (later published as The Total Guide to College Life) - With Alice Lawhead
Rock on Trial: Pop Music and its Role in Our Lives (1989)
Rock of This Age: The Real & Imagined Dangers of Rock Music (1987)
Pilgrim's Guide to the New Age (1986) - With Alice Lawhead
Judge For Yourself (1985)
The Phoenix Factor: Surviving and Growing Through Personal Crisis (1985) (later published as Up From the Ashes) - With Karl A. Slaikeu
Turn Back the Night: A Christian Response to Popular Culture (1985)
Welcome to the Family: How to Find a Home With Other Believers (1982)
Rock Reconsidered: A Christian Looks at Contemporary Music (1981)
After You Graduate: A Guide to Life After High School (1978)
Decisions! Decisions! Decisions! What to do When You Can't Make Up Your Mind (1978)
Books Contributed to
Lawhead has also contributed essays or chapters to several books. His essay "J.R.R. Tolkien: Master of Middle-earth," which describes the impact Tolkien's writings had on him, is featured in the following titles:
More Than Words: Contemporary Writers on the Works That Shaped Them (2002) (previously published as Reality and the Vision (1990) and The Classics We've Read, The Difference They've Made (1993)) - Compiled by Philip Yancey, edited by James C. Schaap
Tolkien: A Celebration (1999) - Edited by Joseph Pearce
Lawhead has contributed to one fictional compilation, writing a chapter in the serial mystery novel Carnage at Christhaven (1989 - ed. William Griffin).