Ann Swinfen spent her childhood partly in England and partly on the east coast of America. She was educated at Somerville College, Oxford, where she read Classics and Mathematics and married a fellow undergraduate, the historian David Swinfen. While bringing up their five children and studying for a postgraduate MSc in Mathematics and a BA and PhD in English Literature, she had a variety of jobs, including university lecturer, translator, freelance journalist and software designer. She served for nine years on the governing council of the Open University and for five years worked as a manager and editor in the technical author division of an international computer company, but gave up her full-time job to concentrate on her writing, while continuing part-time university teaching in English Literature. In 1995 she founded Dundee Book Events, a voluntary organisation promoting books and authors to the general public, which ran for fifteen years.
She is the author of the highly acclaimed series, The Chronicles of Christoval Alvarez. Set in the late sixteenth century, it features a young Marrano physician recruited as a code-breaker and spy in Walsingham’s secret service. In order, the books are: The Secret World of Christoval Alvarez, The Enterprise of England, The Portuguese Affair, Bartholomew Fair, Suffer the Little Children, Voyage to Muscovy, The Play’s the Thing, That Time May Cease and The Lopez Affair.
Her Fenland Series takes place in East Anglia during the seventeenth century. In the first book, Flood, both men and women fight desperately to save their land from greedy and unscrupulous speculators. The second, Betrayal, continues the story of the dangerous search for legal redress and security for the embattled villagers, at a time when few could be trusted.
Her latest series, the bestselling Oxford Medieval Mysteries, is set in the fourteenth century and features bookseller Nicholas Elyot, a young widower with two small children, and his university friend Jordain Brinkylsworth, who are faced with crime in the troubled world following the Black Death. In order, the books are: The Bookseller’s Tale, The Novice’s Tale, The Huntsman’s Tale, The Merchant’s Tale, and The Troubadour’s Tale. Both this series and the Christoval Alvarez series are being recorded as unabridged audiobooks.
She has also written two standalone historical novels. The Testament of Mariam, set in the first century, recounts, from an unusual perspective, one of the most famous and yet ambiguous stories in human history, while exploring life under a foreign occupying force, in lands still torn by conflict to this day. This Rough Ocean is based on the real-life experiences of the Swinfen family during the 1640s, at the time of the English Civil War, when John Swynfen was imprisoned for opposing the killing of the king, and his wife Anne had to fight for the survival of her children and dependents. Both are also available as unabridged audiobooks
Ann Swinfen now lives on the northeast coast of Scotland, with her husband, formerly vice-principal of the University of Dundee, a rescue cat called Maxi, and a cocker spaniel called Suki.