Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
McKinley, Robin

(1952-    ) US writer, resident in the UK; married to Peter Dickinson. She caused a considerable stir with her first book, Beauty: The Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast (1978), which grew out of a short-story idea she had for recasting Beauty and the Beast (>>> Revisionist Fantasy), a mode continued in The Door in the Hedge (1981), a collection of two original fairytales and two more retellings (of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" and "The Princess and the Frog"). She moved into Sword-and-Sorcery with The Blue Sword (1982) and its prequel, The Hero and the Crown (1985), which won the Newbery Award. Both are set in the medieval Fantasyland of Damar and utilize RM's knowledge and love of fairytales and legends as backbone for stories of high romance and heroic Quests. In The Outlaws of Sherwood (1988) RM portrays Robin Hood in spirited fashion as a rather diffident hero bullied into setting up a band of outlaws in Sherwood Forest after accidentally killing a forester. Deerskin (1993) – based loosely on Charles Perrault's "Donkeyskin" (in its unbowdlerized form) – is her darkest and most adult fantasy, tackling issues of incest, abuse, self-doubt, madness and obsession. The mythic elements march hand-in-hand with more prosaic Transformations as a princess escapes from a forced marriage to her father into a wilderness both physical and emotional; her survival depends as much on her own strength as on the gifts of her patron Goddess. This was followed by a second collection, A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories (1994), which includes two tales set in Damar and, unusually for RM, one story set in the real world. [JF]

as editor: Imaginary Lands (anth 1985), which won the World Fantasy Award.

Robin McKinley

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.