Kate Mosse

Mosse in 2008
Mosse in 2008
BornKatharine Mosse
1961 (age 62–63)
Chichester, West Sussex, England
GenreHistorical fiction, non-fiction, supernatural, gothic
Notable worksLabyrinth (2005)
SpouseGreg Mosse

Katherine Louise Mosse CBE (born 1961) is a British novelist, non-fiction and short story writer and broadcaster. She is best known for her 2005 novel Labyrinth, which has been translated into more than 37 languages. She co-founded in 1996 the annual award for best UK-published English-language novel by a woman that is now known as the Women's Prize for Fiction.

Early life and career

Mosse was born in Chichester, and raised in Fishbourne, West Sussex, the eldest of three sisters born to a solicitor, Richard (1920–2011) and Barbara (1931–2014).[1] Mosse's aunt was involved in the campaign for the ordination of women and her grandfather was a vicar.[2] She was educated at Chichester High School For Girls[citation needed] and New College, Oxford,[3] from where she graduated in 1984 with a BA (Hons) in English. After leaving university, she spent seven years working in publishing in London for Hodder & Stoughton, then Century, and finally as an editorial director at Hutchinson, part of the Random House Group. She was a member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Women in Publishing.

She left publishing in 1992, for a writing career beginning with the non-fiction, Becoming a Mother.[2]


Early writing and the Languedoc Trilogy

Although best known for her adventure and ghost fiction, inspired by real history, Mosse's first two works were non-fiction. Becoming A Mother (in its seventh edition) was published by Virago in 1993, followed in 1995 by The House: Behind the Scenes at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, published by BBC Books to accompany the BBC 2 The House. She then wrote two contemporary novels. Eskimo Kissing, about a young, adopted woman searching for her background, was well received when it was published in 1996. This was followed in 1998 by the biotech thriller, Crucifix Lane.

The first of the Languedoc Trilogy, Labyrinth, appeared in 2005. A number one bestseller internationally, it has sold millions of copies and was the bestselling title in the UK for 2006. It also won the Richard & Judy Best Book at the British Book Awards 2006 and was named as one of Waterstones Top 25 books of the past 25 years. A Labyrinth miniseries was broadcast in 2013.[4]

In October 2007, the second novel in the trilogy, Sepulchre, was published. A tale of haunting and Tarot set in fin-de-siècle and 20th-century France, it was also a number one bestseller in the UK and an international bestseller. While Mosse was researching the third and final novel in the trilogy, she released her novel The Winter Ghosts in 2009, based on a novella she previously contributed to the Quick Reads Initiative. Film rights have been sold to Ruby Films. Citadel, the third novel in the trilogy, came out in 2012 and was also an international bestseller. Inspired by the real history of the resistance in Carcassonne during World War II, it tells the story of an imagined all-female resistance unit.

In October 2013, Mosse's collection of short stories, The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales, was published – a collection of ghost stories inspired by traditional folk tales and country legends from England and France, throughout Sussex, Brittany and the Languedoc.

In September 2014, Mosse published her gothic thriller The Taxidermist's Daughter, set in 1912 in Fishbourne and Chichester.[5]

In June 2019, Mosse released The Burning Chambers,[6] the first of a series of novels, beginning in the French Wars of Religion, spanning 300 years from 1562 in Carcassonne, via Amsterdam to 1862 in Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa. The second in the series, The City of Tears,[7] was published in 2020.

Other writing and plays

Mosse has also contributed a number of essays and stories to anthologies and collections, including Modern Delight (a book inspired by J. B. Priestley's 1949 book Delight) published by Waterstone's to raise money for Dyslexia Action and the London Library; Little Black Dress (edited by Susie Maguire); Midsummer Nights (edited by Jeanette Winterson), a collection to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Glyndebourne Opera House in East Sussex; The Best Little Book Club in Town and The Coffee Shop Book Club in aid of Breast Cancer Care and Why Willows Weep (edited by Tracy Chevalier) in aid of the Woodland Trust (2011), Write (Guardian Books), Virago at 40 (edited by Lennie Goodings), Fifty Shades of Feminism (edited by Lisa Appignanesi, Rachel Holmes and Susie Orbach), Writing Historical Fiction (edited by Celia Brayfield and Duncan Sprott) and Anthology of World War I Literature for Children (edited by Michael Morpurgo) in 2014, in aid of the Royal British Legion and SSAFA.

Mosse has also written introductions to reissues of a number of works of fiction and non-fiction including Writers' & Artists Yearbook 2009, Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini, We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Goldfinger by Ian Fleming, Night Falls on the City by Sarah Gainham, A Chichester Miscellany by Phil Hewitt, Chichester Harbour: England's Coastal Gem by Liz Sagues, One Hundred Great Plays by Women by Lucy Kerbel.

In 2012, she published an anniversary book to celebrate 50 years of the Chichester Festival Theatre. Chichester Festival Theatre at Fifty is published by the crowd-funding publishing company Unbound.[8]

Her first play, Syrinx, was part of the SkyArts Theatre Live project, devised by Sandi Toksvig. First performed in July 2009, it won a broadcasting press publicity award that same year. Mosse's second play Endpapers was part of the Bush Theatre's 2011 project Sixty-Six Books.[9] Her monologue was inspired by the Book of Revelation, the final book in the Bible.

In September 2020, Mosse's own adaptation of her 2014 gothic thriller The Taxidermist's Daughter, set in 1912 in Fishbourne and Chichester, will première at Chichester Festival Theatre.[10]

Journalism and broadcasting

Mosse writes for various newspapers and magazines, including The Times, Telegraph, Guardian and The Sunday Times and from 2008 to 2011 she wrote a regular column for the book trade magazine, The Bookseller. A regular guest on UK radio and television, she presented the BBC Four literary chat show Readers' and Writers' Roadshow and appears on the BBC Breakfast News and BBC2's The Review Show. She is a guest presenter for A Good Read on BBC Radio 4. Mosse was the captain of the winning team of alumni from New College, Oxford, on Christmas Celebrity University Challenge in 2012. The team included the novelists Rachel Johnson and Patrick Gale.In January 2021, Kate Mosse launched #WomanInHistory, a global campaign of celebration inviting people to nominate a woman from history they thought should be better known.[11][12]

Honours and awards

Mosse was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to literature[13] and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2024 New Year Honours for services to literature, women and charity.[14]

In 2000, she was named European Woman of Achievement for her contribution to the arts.[15] In 2006, she was nominated for a Quill Award and won the British Book Awards Best Read of the Year for Labyrinth. She holds an Honorary MA from the University of Chichester. She was also the 2012 winner of "The Spirit of Everywoman Award", awarded by NatWest. In 2013, she was named as one of publishing Top 100 most influential people by the Bookseller and has appeared in every list since. She was named one of London's 1000 most influential people in the arts in 2013 by the Evening Standard.[16]

In 2019, she was appointed visiting professor of Contemporary Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Chichester.[17][18]

Personal life

She is married to playwright Greg Mosse and has two adult children.[19]

In 1989, she and her husband bought a small house in Carcassonne in the Languedoc region of southwest France,[2] the inspiration for her bestselling trilogy of historical timeslip novels. She moved back to her home town of Chichester in 1998 when she became the first female executive director of Chichester Festival Theatre.[2]


In June 2023 Mosse was the invited guest on BBC Radio 4's long running radio series Desert Island Discs hosted by Lauren Laverne.



Languedoc trilogy

  1. Labyrinth (2005)
  2. Sepulchre (2007)
  3. Citadel (2012)

The Burning Chambers series

  1. The Burning Chambers (2018)
  2. The City of Tears (2020)
  3. The Ghost Ship (2023)




  1. ^ Kay, Adam (2020). "Kate Mosse". Dear NHS 100 Stories to say Thank You.
  2. ^ a b c d Dodd, Celia (7 June 2008). "Bestselling author, Kate Mosse, talks about her new book, Sepulchre, and her fascination with tarot cards". The Times. Retrieved 30 January 2017. (subscription required)
  3. ^ "Kate Mosse: Fiction Non-Fiction Poetry". British Council. Retrieved 24 April 2023.
  4. ^ Roxborough, Scott (29 September 2011). "Game of Thrones' Emun Elliott, John Hurt to Star in Labyrinth Miniseries". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  5. ^ Mosse, Kate (2014). The Taxidermist's Daughter. Orion. ISBN 9781409153764.
  6. ^ Mosse, Kate (2019). The Burning Chambers. St. Martin's Publishing. ISBN 9781250202161.
  7. ^ Mosse, Kate (2020). The City of Tears. Pan Macmillan. ISBN 9781509806881.
  8. ^ "A Labour of Love: Chichester Festival Theatre at Fifty". Sussex Life. 9 June 2012.
  9. ^ "Kate Mosse: Endpapers in response to Revelation", Sixty-Six Books Archived 17 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Bush Theatre.
  10. ^ "The Taxidermist's Daughter". Chichester Festival Theatre. 27 January 2021. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  11. ^ "#WomanInHistory: The new campaign by Kate Mosse putting women back in the history books". 12 February 2021.
  12. ^ Chandler, Mark (10 February 2021). "Mosse launches inspirational women campaign". The Bookseller.
  13. ^ Wright, Kirsty (17 June 2013). "Authors feature in Queen's Birthday Honours". The Bookseller. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  14. ^ "No. 64269". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2023. p. N10.
  15. ^ British Council. "Kate Mosse | British Council Literature". Contemporarywriters.com. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  16. ^ "The Power 1000 – London's most influential people 2013: Imagineers". Evening Standard. London. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  17. ^ "Internationally-acclaimed author Kate Mosse to become Visiting Professor at University of Chichester". University of Chichester. 21 March 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  18. ^ Hewitt, Phil (21 March 2019). "Novelist Kate Mosse becomes a visiting professor at Chichester University". worthingherald.co.uk. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  19. ^ The New College Register, 2001, p. 541