Katie Hickman was born into a diplomatic family and spent the first twenty-five years of her life living abroad, in Europe, the Far East and South America. She was educated at boarding school in England where she was a scholar at Wycombe Abbey School, and at Pembroke College, Oxford, where she read English.
After Oxford she began to travel on her own account and to write. Her first book, ‘Dreams of the Peaceful Dragon’ (1987), an account of a journey on horseback across the forbidden Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, was followed by ‘The Quetzal Summer’ (1992), a novel about love and death in the Andes, for which she was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year. In 1993 she published a second travel book , ‘A Trip to the Light Fantastic’ (later re-issued as ‘Travels with a Circus’), an account of a year spent living and working with a Mexican circus, which was short-listed for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, and which later became one of the Independent’s Books of the Year.
After the birth of her first child she turned to writing history books. The first of these ‘Daughters of Britannia: the Lives and Times of Diplomatic Wives’ (1999) rose to number two in the Sunday Times Bestseller lists, and remained in the top ten for five consecutive months. It was adapted into a highly successful twenty part series for BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour, and has sold nearly 200,000 copies to date. ‘Daughters’ was followed in 2003 by ‘Courtesans’, about the lives of British eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century courtesans, which was also a bestseller, and has sold nealry 90,000 copies.
‘The Aviary Gate’, a novel set in late sixteenth century Constantinople in the harem of the Turkish Sultan, Mehmet III, is the result of more than fifteen years planning and passionate research.
To date it has sold into sixteen territories worldwide, and will be the lead fiction title for Bloomsbury, both in the UK (April 2008) and in the US (June 2008). 'The Aviary Gate' was followed by a linked novel, 'The Pindar Diamond', which was published by Bloomsbury in June, 2010 and in paperback in March 2011.
Between them 'The Aviary Gate' and 'The Pindar Diamond' have been translated into nineteen languages.
The third and concluding novel in the 'Aviary Gate' series, 'A Winter's Tale', will be published next year.
Katie Hickman is listed in the ‘Oxford Dictionary of Women Travellers’, ‘Wayward Women’. She lives in London.