Caitlín R. Kiernan

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan (born Kenneth Ramey Wright May 26, 1964 in Dublin, Ireland) is the author of numerous science fiction and dark fantasy works, including many comics, more than seventy published short stories, and several scientific papers.

Early life

As a small child, Wright's mother, newly-widowed, relocated to the United States. After short periods in Thibodaux, Louisiana and Jacksonville, Florida, they moved to Leeds for most of Wright's childhood. During those years, Wright cultivated early interests in herpetology, paleontology, and fiction writing. As a teenager, they lived in Trussville, and, in high school, began doing volunteer work at the Red Mountain Museum, spending summers on archaeological and paleontological digs. They attended college at the UAB and the University of Colorado at Boulder, studying geology and vertebrate paleontology, and held both museum and teaching positions. Kiernan co-founded the Birmingham Paleontological Society in 1984. In 1988, they helped to describe the newly-discovered mosasaur, Selmasaurus russelli. Kiernan later switched their major to English.

During the 1980s, Wright began speaking to a psychiatrist about gender identity and concluded that the best option was to undergo gender reassignment and to live as a woman. In 1989 Wright, then married to a woman, began speaking publicly about that transition, and included the information in their campaign materials for a legislative seat in the UAB Student Government Association. They began taking estrogen that May and legally changed their name to Caitlín Kiernan. Much later, they came to a realization that "transgender" or "transsexual" was an inaccurate descriptor and began using the term "gender fluid" as the best approximation. Kiernan prefers the pronouns "they", "them", and "their".



Kiernan began seriously writing fiction in 1992. Their first novel, The Five of Cups, was written between June 1992 and early 1993, though it wasn't published until 2003. They had a short story, "Persephone", published in 1995 and three years later saw their first published novel, Silk released to positive reviews. Silk and its two sequels Threshold and Murder of Angels are set in Birmingham.

So far Kiernan has published six full-length novels, two of which have been honored by the International Horror Guild. Their short fiction has been selected for The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, and The Year's Best Science Fiction, and has been collected in numerous anthologies. Their comics, scripted for DC/Vertigo, include The Dreaming, The Girl Who Would Be Death, and Bast: Eternity Game, extending the narrative universe of Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" series. They continued to contribute to the field of vertebrate paleontology.

Kiernan authored the novelization of the 2007 film "Beowulf". Their latest novels include Daughter of Hounds, The Red Tree, The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (nominated for the Nebula Award) and Blood Oranges, under the pen name Kathleen Tierney.

Kiernan lived in Providence, Rhode Island with their partner, photographer Kathryn Pollnac until moving back to Birmingham in 2018.


Between 1996 and 1997, Kiernan also fronted an Athens, Georgia-based "goth-folk-blues" band, "Death's Little Sister", named for Gaiman's character, Delirium. They were the band's vocalist and lyricist, and the group enjoyed some success on local college radio and played shows in Athens and Atlanta. Kiernan has said in interviews that they left the band in February 1997 because of their increased responsibilities writing for DC Comics and because their novel Silk had recently sold. Kiernan was briefly involved in Crimson Stain Mystery, a studio project, two years later. CSM produced one EP to accompany a special limited edition of Silk, illustrated by Clive Barker (Gauntlet Press, 2000).


  • International Horror Guild Award, "Best First Novel" 1998 (Silk)
  • Barnes & Noble Maiden Voyage Award, "Best First Novel" 1998 (Silk)
  • International Horror Guild Award, "Best Novel" 2001 (Threshold)
  • International Horror Guild Award, "Best Short Story" 2001 ("Onion")
  • International Horror Guild Award, "Best Mid-Length Fiction" 2005 ("La Peau Verte")
  • "James Tiptree Jr Award" 2012 (The Drowning Girl: A Memoir)
  • Bram Stoker Award, "Best Novel" 2012 (The Drowning Girl: A Memoir)
  • Bram Stoker Award, "Best Graphic Novel" 2013 (Alabaster: Wolves)
  • Locus Award, "Best Short Story" 2014 ("The Road of Needles")
  • World Fantasy Award, "Short Fiction" 2014 ("The Prayer of Ninety Cats")
  • World Fantasy Award, "Best Collection" 2014 (The Ape's Wife and Other Stories)



  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (1998) Silk. Penguin-Putnam ISBN 9780451456687
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2001) Threshold. Penguin-Putnam ISBN 9780451461247
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2003) The Five of Cups. Subterranean Press ISBN 9781931081801
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2003) Low Red Moon. Penguin-Putnam ISBN 9781931081849
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2004) The Dry Salvages. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2004) Murder of Angels. Penguin-Putnam ISBN 0451459962
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2007) Daughter of Hounds. Penguin-Putnam ISBN 9780451461575
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2007) Beowulf (novelization of 2007 film). HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061543388
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2009) The Red Tree. Penguin-Putnam ISBN 9780451463500
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2012) The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Penguin-Putnam ISBN 9780451464163
  • Tierney, Kathleen (2013) Blood Oranges. Penguin-Putnam ISBN 9780451465016
  • Tierney, Kathleen (2014) Red Delicious. Penguin-Putnam ISBN 9780451416537
  • Tierney, Kathleen (2015) Cherry Bomb. Penguin-Putnam ISBN 9780451416551
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2017) Agents of Dreamland. Tor ISBN 0765394324
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (208) Black Helicopters. Tor ISBN 0765394324
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2017) Agents of Dreamland. Tor ISBN 1250191130
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2018) La Belle Fleur Sauvage. Dark Regions Press ISBN 9781626412873
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2020) The Tindalos Asset. Tor ISBN 9781250191151

Short fiction collections

  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2000) Tales of Pain and Wonder. Gauntlet Press.
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. & Poppy Z. Brite (2001) Wrong Things. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2002) From Weird and Distant Shores. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2005) To Charles Fort, With Love. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2006) Alabaster. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2009) A is for Alien. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2010) The Ammonite Violin & Others. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2011) Two Worlds and in Between: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan, Vol. 1. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2012) Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2013) The Ape's Wife and Other Stories. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2015) Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan, Vol. 2. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2017) Dear Sweet Filthy World. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2018) Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales. Centipede Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2018) The Dinosaur Tourist. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2019) The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan. Tachyon Publications
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2019) A Little Yellow Book of Fever Dreams. Borderlands Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2020) Comes a Pale Rider. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2021) Vile Affections. Subterranean Press
  • Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2021) The Variegated Alphabet. Subterranean Press


  • The Dreaming (August 1997–May 2001) Vertigo Comics
  • The Girl Who Would Be Death (four-issue miniseries; 1998-1999) Vertigo Comics
  • Bast: Eternity Game (three-issue miniseries; 2002) Vertigo Comics
  • Alabaster (2012–2016) Dark Horse Comics

Scientific writings

  • Kiernan, C. R. (1992) "Clidastes Cope, 1868 (Reptilia, Sauria): proposed designation of Clidastes propython Cope, 1869 as the type species." Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature No. 49, pp. 137–139
  • Schwimmer, D. R. and Kiernan, C. R. (2001) "Eastern Late Cretaceous theropods in North America and the crossing of the Interior Seaway." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology Vol. 21, No. 3, p. 99A
  • Kiernan, C. R. (2002) "Stratigraphic distribution and habitat segregation of mosasaurs in the Upper Cretaceous of western and central Alabama, with an historical review of Alabama mosasaur discoveries." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology Vol. 22, No. 1. pp. 91-103
  • Kiernan, C. R. & D. R. Schwimmer (2004) "First Record of a Velociraptorine Theropod (Tetanurae, Dromaeosauridae) from the Eastern Gulf Coastal United States". The Mosasaur (Delaware Valley Paleontological Society), No. 7, pp. 89–93
  • Gentry, Andrew D., Jun A. Ebersole & Caitlín R. Kiernan (December 18, 2019) "Asmodochelys parhami, a new fossil marine turtle from the Campanian Demopolis Chalk and the stratigraphic congruence of competing marine turtle phylogenies." Royal Society Open Science
  • Gentry, Andrew D., Caitlín R. Kiernan & James F. Parham (August 19, 2022) "A large non-marine turtle from the Upper Cretaceous of Alabama and a review of North American “Macrobaenids”" The Anatomical Record


External links