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T. A. Barron
Barron in 2008
Barron in 2008
Born Thomas A. Barron
March 26, 1952 (1952-03-26) (age 69)
Boston, MA
Occupation Novelist
Language English
Nationality United States
Alma mater Princeton University
Harvard University
Genre Fantasy, self help, science fiction
Notable works
  • The Merlin Saga (12 books)
  • The Atlantis Saga trilogy
  • The Hero's Trail

Thomas Archibald Barron (born March 26, 1952) is an American writer of fantasy literature, books for children and young adults, and nature books.


Barron spent his early childhood in Harvard, Massachusetts, a town full of New England history and apple orchards. His family moved to Colorado and he spent much of his youth on a ranch in the Rocky Mountains. Barron's writing reflects his great passion for nature and the spiritual values of the natural world, as well as his belief in the power of every person.

He studied history at Princeton University, where he was a Trustee, attended Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship, and has business and law degrees from Harvard University. He served as president of a private equity firm in New York City before changing careers in 1990, when he returned to Colorado to become a full-time writer and conservationist.

Since then, he has written more than thirty novels, children's books, non-fiction books, and nature books. In 2011, he received The de Grummond Medallion for "lifetime contribution to the field of children's and young adult literature." He has also won the Nautilus Award Grand Prize, and many other literary awards.

He is actively involved with environmental and conservation organizations, including the Wilderness Society, Earthjustice, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Alaska Conservation Foundation, and Colorado Open Lands.

In 2000, he founded a national prize to celebrate outstanding young people, who help other people, or the environment—the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes (named after his mother). He has produced a documentary film, “Dream Big”, as well as several highly acclaimed videos that honor extraordinary young people of diverse backgrounds for his Inspiring Young Heroes website. He won a Telly Award in 2020 for excellence in video production in the Social Impact category.

Barron also helped to create the High Meadows Environmental Institute at Princeton University. Recently, the Wilderness Society honored him with the Robert Marshall Award, its highest award given to citizens active in conservation.


In many of his novels, Barron writes about nature and ecology in mythical settings. Inspired by nature's power of renewal as well as humanity's power of free choice, he says, "I truly believe every person can make a difference — that's why I'm drawn to heroic quest stories." . His books have received the Nautilus Award Grand Prize for literature that helps to renew the spirit and envision a better world, as well as many other awards from the American Library Association, and the International Literacy Association. The Merlin Saga (twelve titles) and the novel The Ancient One have been international best sellers; The Great Tree of Avalon trilogy has been a New York Times best seller.

According to Booklist, his books are "completely magical" and "will enchant readers." The New York Times has called his work "august" and "compelling". Fellow author Isabel Allende has said his writing is "brilliant—a real gift"; similarly, author Madeleine L'Engle called his stories "a crescendo of miracles." Fellow writer Terry Tempest Williams has hailed him as the creator of "environmental fables for our time." Robert Coles, M.D. has praised his work by saying, "Here is so much grace." And writer Lloyd Alexander called his books "an intense and profoundly spiritual adventure."


Disney film studios is currently developing a film adaptation of the Merlin Saga. In November 2015, Philippa Boyens was hired to write the script. On January 4, 2018, it was reported that Ridley Scott is in talks of directing it.


Adventures of Kate Books

  • The Heartlight Saga (Combined edition) (2013)
  • Heartlight (1990) (Illustrated by Anne Yvonne Gilbert in 2003)
  • The Ancient One (1992) (Illustrated by Anne Yvonne Gilbert in 2004)
  • The Merlin Effect (1994)

The Atlantis Saga

  • Atlantis Rising (2013)
  • Atlantis in Peril (2015)
  • Atlantis Lost (2016)
  • Never Again: The Origins of Grukkar (eBook)

The Merlin Saga

The Merlin Saga (2011) is a 12-book series originally sold as three separate series: The Lost Years of Merlin epic, Merlin's Dragon trilogy, and The Great Tree of Avalon trilogy. The twelfth book in the series is The Book of Magic, an encyclopedia of the characters and places in the series.

The Lost Years of Merlin Epic
Merlin's Dragon Trilogy
  • Merlin Book 6: The Dragon of Avalon; originally issued as Merlin's Dragon (2008)
  • Merlin Book 7: Doomraga's Revenge (2009)
  • Merlin Book 8: Ultimate Magic (2010)
The Great Tree of Avalon Trilogy
  • Merlin Book 9: The Great Tree of Avalon; originally issued as Child of the Dark Prophecy (2004)
  • Merlin Book 10: Shadows on the Stars (2005)
  • Merlin Book 11: The Eternal Flame (2007)
The Book of Magic
  • Merlin Book 12: Merlin: The Book of Magic (2011), companion to the Merlin Saga

Other fiction books

  • Tree Girl (2001)
  • Ben Barron: How the Boy Became King of Shadows

Picture books

  • Where is Grandpa? (1999)
  • High as a Hawk (2004)
  • The Day the Stones Walked (2007)
  • Ghost Hands (2011)

Books to Inspire (Nonfiction)

  • The Hero's Trail: True Stories of Young People to Inspire Courage, Compassion, and Hope (2015)
  • The Wisdom of Merlin (2015)

Nature books

  • To Walk In Wilderness (1993)
  • Rocky Mountain National Park: A 100 Year Perspective (1995)
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