Anne McCaffrey was born on April 1st, 1926, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at 1:30 p.m., in the hour of the Sheep, year of the Fire Tiger, sun sign Aries with Taurus rising and Leo mid-heaven (which seems to suggest an early interest in the stars).
Her parents were George Herbert McCaffrey, BA, MA PhD (Harvard), Colonel USA Army (retired), and Anne Dorothy McElroy McCaffrey, estate agent. She had two brothers: Hugh McCaffrey (deceased 1988), Major US Army, and Kevin Richard McCaffrey, still living.
Anne was educated at Stuart Hall, Staunton Virginia, Montclair High School, Montclair, New Jersey, and graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College, majoring in Slavonic Languages and Literatures.
Anne McCaffrey has tried to live up to her auspicious natal day. Her first novel was written in Latin class and might have brought her instant fame, as well as an A, if she had written it in that ancient language. Much chastened by teacher and father, she turned to the stage and became a character actress, appearing in the first successful summer music circus in Lambertsville, NJ. She studied voice for nine years and, during that time, became intensely interested in the stage direction of opera and operetta, ending that phase of her experience with the direction of the American premiere of Carl Orff’s LUDUS DE NATO INFANTE MIRIFICUS in which she also played a witch.
Her working career included Liberty Music Shops and Helena Rubinstein (1947-1952). She married in 1950 and has three children: Alec Anthony, b. 1952, Todd, b.1956, and Georgeanne, b.1959.
Anne McCaffrey’s first story was published by Sam Moskowitz in Science Fiction + Magazine and her first novel was published by Ballantine Books in 1967. By the time the three children of her marriage were comfortably in school most of the day, she had already achieved enough success with short stories to devote full time to writing. Her first novel, Restoree, was written as a protest against the absurd and unrealistic portrayals of women in s-f novels in the 50s and early 60s. It is, however, in the handling of broader themes and the worlds of her imagination, particularly the two series The Ship Who Sang and the fourteen novels about the Dragonriders of Pern that Ms. McCaffrey’s talents as a story-teller are best displayed.
Although she used to make appearances throughout the world as guest of honor at science fiction conventions, arthritis has now restricted such travel. She lives in a house of her own design, Dragonhold-Underhill (because she had to dig out a hill on her farm to build it) in Wicklow County, Ireland. It is not remotely like a castle, "on purpose," she says to people who believe ‘hold’ is synonymous with ‘castle’ in Ireland.
Anne runs a private livery stable and her horses have been successful in Horse Trials and showjumping. She does not ride in competition, she hastens to add, but has enjoyed the success of horse and rider and, until recently, rode out on her black and white mare, Pi.
Biographical and Bibliographic Information:
Todd J. McCaffrey, Dragonholder, The Life and Dreams (So Far) of Anne McCaffrey, Ballantine/Del Rey, New York, 1999.
Martha P. Trachtenberg, Anne McCaffrey. Science Fiction Storyteller , Enslow Publishers Inc., Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922, USA and Aldershot, Hants GU12 6BP, UK, 2001.
Mathew D. Hargreaves, Anne Inez McCaffrey, 40 years of publishing, An International Bibliography , P.O. Box 66099, Seattle, WA 98166, 1992.
Robin Roberts, Anne McCaffrey: A Critical Companion, Westwood, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996.