Out of the Shadows released in the UK today, plus an online book launch, features in Lit Hub, inclusion in their Best Reviewed Books of the Week, and more

Out of the Shadows is released in the UK today, and is available from Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Amazon and elsewhere. I’m so happy that readers in my home country will now be able to read my book.

Seven-and-a-half months pregnant in this image of me all set up to talk with my editor Jennifer Alton.

Over the past week-and-half, since publication in North America, I’ve had the chance to talk about the lives of the Fox sisters, Emma Hardinge Britten, Victoria Woodhull and Georgina Weldon in an online book launch hosted by Brookline Booksmith and chaired by my editor at Counterpoint Press, Jennifer Alton. A recording of the event should be made available soon.

I also had a piece published in Literary Hub on some of the difficulties facing the biographer who works with the accounts of unreliable witnesses, and was delighted to be included in their Book Marks list of the Best Reviewed Books of the Week. Today, Literary Hub also published an extract from Out of the Shadows, which deals with the remarkable rise on Wall Street of Victoria Woodhull.

And in the UK today, the University of East Anglia’s New Writing site published a different extract, which focuses on the first mysterious knockings that launched the extraordinary careers of the Fox sisters, Kate, Maggie and Leah.

Another thing that has made me happy has been the opportunity to give interviews or write features for some of my favourite book blogs.

Books By Women published a piece by me about the experience of working on a book in tandem with two pregnancies: ‘On Writing and Early Motherhood’.

Pregnant (with my previous baby) in this image too – researching the lives of the Fox sisters at the site of their former home in Hydesville, Wayne County (NY).

I Stayed In with Linda Hill as part of her popular series on Linda’s Book Bag. This gave me the chance to share an image of myself ankle-deep in snow at the site of the Fox sisters’ former home, and to talk about my Great Aunt Jessie’s opera glasses.

I talked more about my research for Out of the Shadows in a Q&A on Deborah Kalb’s blog.

Jill’s Book Cafe included my ‘Five on Friday’ selections, featuring music that’s part of the soundtrack of my life, advice for my younger self, and things that few people know about me.

In addition to these pieces, I’m grateful to the many social media users who have been sharing images and thoughts on my book. Seeing these kinds of readers’ reactions to Out of the Shadows always makes my day.

Out of the Shadows – Out today! Plus an online launch and pieces in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Boston Globe

I’m delighted to be able to say that my book, Out of the Shadows: Six Visionary Victorian Women in Search of a Public Voice is published by Counterpoint Press today in North America.

It was recently reviewed in the Wall Street Journal by Brandy Schillace, who praised its ‘tapestry of complex characters with conflicted motivations, woven together with the color of ghostly apparitions (and angry mobs)’. Last week, an interview of me talking to Books Editor Kate Tuttle about my research into unlikely Victorian superstars, the Fox sisters, Emma Hardinge Britten, Victoria Woodhull and Georgina Weldon, also featured in the Boston Globe. And today the book was reviewed by Christine Leigh Heyrman in the New York Times

If you’re based in the USA and would like to buy a copy, Out of the Shadows is available from, among others, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or your favourite indie bookstore. Or you could request a copy at your local library.

If you live in Canada, it’s available at bookshops including Amazon, Indigo, or your favourite indie. Or, again, you could request a copy at your library.

The (slightly delayed) UK release date is 20 May, but it’s available for preorder from shops including Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Foyles and Amazon at present, with preorders soon to be available more widely in the UK too.

Out of the Shadows is also available as an e-book or audio-book, via your favourite reading or listening app.

Finally: although the current Covid-19 restrictions have stopped me from having an in-person launch here in London, I’m so happy to be able to celebrate the release of my book in an online event to which anyone interested – anywhere in the world – is invited. I’ll be in conversation with my wonderful editor, Jennifer Alton, in an event hosted by the independent bookshop Brookline Booksmith. It’s on Sunday 16 May, and the local time of the event, in the US, is 4pm EDT. For anyone like me who will be joining from the UK, that’s 9pm BST. Tickets are free, but you need to register, which you can do here. Wherever you are, I hope you can make it!

Review in Publishers Weekly and Interview for The Battersea Poltergeist

It’s now three months until my new book comes out in North America. Out of the Shadows: Six Visionary Victorian Women in Search of a Public Voice will be published by Counterpoint Press on 11 May, 2021, and it’s exciting for me that news about it is making its way into the world.

The last couple of weeks have brought two particular happy moments: an interview for the BBC and a first print review.

The review in Publishers Weekly (US) appears in the current edition, and was published earlier in an online version. PW found Out of the Shadows ‘persuasive’, ‘entertaining and informative’, and I was particularly delighted with their closing verdict: ‘Women’s history buffs will be enthralled.’

It was also a pleasure to be asked to talk a little about my research on the Fox sisters – who feature heavily in Out of the Shadows – in episode 5 of the hugely popular BBC Radio 4 / Bafflegab podcast The Battersea Poltergeist, available on the Radio 4 website, BBC Sounds and all major podcast streaming services. I’m looking forward to sharing much, much more about the lives of Kate, Maggie and Leah Fox – especially the dramatic prelude and aftermath to the episode I addressed in my interview – in my forthcoming book.

Article in Shooter magazine: Emily Dickinson and Helen Hunt Jackson

The only authenticated portrait of Emily Dickinson (later in childhood). This image is in the public domain. The original is held by the Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College.
Emily Dickinson (later in childhood). This image is in the public domain. The original is held by the Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College.

Emma Claire Sweeney and I were delighted to be approached by new literary magazine, Shooter, with a request that we contribute an article to their first issue.

‘Success is Counted Sweetest’, our piece on the literary friendship between Emily Dickinson and Helen Hunt Jackson, is the result. Readers of our joint website Something Rhymed may recall that we profiled this fascinating relationship on-line some months ago, but it was a pleasure to revisit it in a longer form in print.

Our research into this pair has caused us to seriously reevaluate our earlier impressions of Dickinson as an out-and-out recluse, and encouraged us to look with a more careful eye at the woman known to her curious neighbours as The Myth.

This process of reevaluation has, in fact, played a much broader part in the work we’ve been doing for the website.

Jane Austen’s radical friendship with family governess Anne Sharp, we discovered, challenges the notion that she was a timid, conservative lady. Diary entries left behind by Virginia Woolf cast doubt on popular depictions of her and Katherine Mansfield as bitter foes. The bond between Helen Keller and Nancy Hamilton transforms the ‘saintly’ image of the former and shows her as an even more interesting individual.

If you are interested in finding out more about these friendships, or the many others we have featured so far, you can do so by visiting the Profiled Writers page of Something Rhymed.

Article for Hippo Reads and event at the Ilkley Literature Festival

Last night, Emma Claire Sweeney and I met up at the Southbank Centre for the pre-award celebration for this year’s SI Leeds Literary Prize. As a former runner-up, I really wanted to go along to support the 2014 shortlistees – not least because of the help Emma Claire and I have received from three of them.

Season Butler, Reshma Ruia and Kit de Waal were all kind enough to answer some interview questions about their friendships, as was prize advocate Irenosen Okojie. We’ll be featuring a new creative piece inspired by their answers during our talk at the Ilkley Literature Festival next week. This is a free event and we’d love to see you there.

 

SOMETHING RHYMED

~ the literary friendships of famous female authors

Ilkley Playhouse Wildman

Wednesday 15th October

9.15-10.15 pm

 

 

For a taster of the sort of thing we’ll be discussing, you can also read our article for Hippo Reads, which went live on their website yesterday.

Writing on the Wall festival, the Yorkshire Post and more on Something Rhymed

I’m delighted to announce that I will be reading an extract of my as-yet-unpublished first novel A Tiny Speck of Black and then Nothing at the Writing on the Wall festival in Liverpool on Wednesday 14 May.

As a former third prize winner of the SI Leeds Literary Prize, I’ll be taking part in an event at Siren Café headlined by Helen Walsh, author of gripping new novel The Lemon Grove. My book A Tiny Speck of Black and then Nothing also won third prize in the Yeovil Literary Prize and was long-listed for the Mslexia Novel Competition.

Me reading my work at the SI Leeds Literary Prize ceremony
Me reading my work at the SI Leeds Literary Prize ceremony

In other writing news, the Yorkshire Post recently featured an article on Something Rhymed, the literary website I run with Emma Claire Sweeney. Throughout 2014, Emma Claire and I are profiling the writing friendships of well-known female authors, and this month we’re turning the spotlight on Emily Dickinson and Helen Hunt Jackson.

We’re still actively looking for more literary pals to consider for the site, so please keep letting us know your thoughts by Tweeting us, or contacting us via somethingrhymed.com.

Something Rhymed: guest post for Women Writers, Women[‘s] Books and interview with Read Me Something You Love

Ever since we launched Something Rhymed at the start of the year, Emma Claire Sweeney and I have been kept happily busy with research, monthly activities and weekly updates for our website. Throughout 2014, we will be profiling the literary friendships of well-known female authors, so if you have any ideas about famous writer pals we could consider, do please keep those recommendations coming in.

Weve written a few one-off feature articles about the project too, most recently for Women Writers, Women[’s] Books, and this month we’ve also recorded a podcast – a new experience for us.

Me listening to Emma Claire's reading of Virginia Woolf
Me listening to Emma Claire’s reading of Virginia Woolf

We were already fans of Read Me Something You Love, so when Steve Wasserman asked us to record an interview with him, based around the writer friends we profiled on Something Rhymed in January, we jumped at the chance. Emma Claire read (and deftly defended) a section from Virginia Woolfs Mrs Dalloway and I read the opening of ‘The Garden Party’, one of my favourite short stories ever since I first encountered it.

We both had lots of fun doing the interview and, perhaps partly because it was a joint interview, I actually enjoyed reliving it via the recording – which hasn’t always been my experience when I’ve listened to myself again in the past!

Just Back travel piece in the Telegraph

As some friends already know, my partner and I have recently returned from a motorcycle tour of Spain (with him doing the driving, me sitting on the back).

We saw all sorts of amazing sights: a school of jumping dolphins on the ferry crossing out and a whale on the return journey, a meteor shower on a cold mountain night, a magnificent sunset at mainland Europe’s southernmost point.

But one of the experiences I think we’ll look back on the most is a day we spent at a small motorcycle garage on the outskirts of Granada. I’ve written up what happened in this article, which won this week’s Just Back competition in the Daily Telegraph. This is my first piece of travel writing, so I’m really glad they chose it.

Early on in our travels, when the bike was still running perfectly...
Early on in our travels, when the bike was still running perfectly…