Novelist and clergyman. Son of Roger Sterne (d. 1731) and great-grandson of Richard Sterne (1596-1683), Archbishop of York (1664-1683). Sterne graduated B.A. from Jesus College, Oxford in 1737 and was awarded his M.A in 1740. Shortly after receiving his B.A. he was awarded the vicarship of Sutton-On-The-Forest in Yorkshire, and from 1743 was also vicar of neighbouring Stillington. In 1741 he married Elizabeth Lumley, with whom he had one surviving child, Lydia (b. 1747).1
In 1759 he wrote the first part of the novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, a unique story which eventually grew to 9 volumes (the last being published in 1767), and which made him an instant celebrity both in the UK and on the European continent. In 1760 he published the Sermons of Parson Yorick, the eponymous character having been introduced in Tristram Shandy.
His final work, published shortly before his death, was A Sentimental Journey purporting to be an account of the travels of Parson Yorick on the continent.
- 1Lydia Sterne married Alexander de Medalle. In 1775 she published "Letters of the Rev. Mr. Laurence Sterne to his Most Intimate Friends, Published by his Daughter, L. S. De Medalle", a volume which she dedicated to David Garrick.