Other things that have been making me happy since I last posted here are a series of early reviews in the following publications: Kirkus, which called Out of the Shadows ‘A well-researched, fresh contribution to women’s history’; Booklist, which said, ‘This well-researched book offers insight into a unique niche of women’s history, and would be a worthy addition to most libraries’; Library Journal, which called the book ‘Brisk and entertaining’, and, most recently BookPage – a starred review by Anna Spydell that made my day with the following conclusion. ‘By the book’s end, it no longer matters whether you believe these six remarkable spirit mediums were hoaxes or not; you’ll certainly believe in them.’
There is now less than a month to go until my book is released, on both sides of the Atlantic. Out of the Shadows will be published on 11 May, 2021. It’s available for preorder in the USA and Canada, and currently partially available for preorder in the UK. It will be fully available in the UK soon.
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.
It’s been a very long time since I last wrote anything on here. Since my last post, a lot has happened, out in the world and closer to home. I’ve had a baby and written another book. Lola is a little over one year old now, and the book is in its final editing stages.
Out of the Shadows: Six Visionary Victorian Womenin Search of a Public Voice will be published by Counterpoint Press in North America in May 2021. This, my second group biography – and my first written without a co-author – tells the stories of six enterprising nineteenth-century women whose apparent ability to contact the dead brought them astonishing levels of fame, fortune and political influence.
After the months and years I’ve spent researching and writing Out of the Shadows, it was a thrill to recently receive an Advance Reading Copy and to be able to hold my words between the cover in my hands.
I’m looking forward to sharing much more about my book in the months to come.
I’m honoured to have a short story, ‘White Orchids’, in the first issue of The Good Journal – a new quarterly literary magazine showcasing work by writers of colour.
It follows on from the success of the bestselling, award-winning collection of essays The Good Immigrant, and features work by established and emerging writers.
The first issue is edited by Nikesh Shukla. I’m really enjoying reading the huge range of literary work within these pages and am already looking forward to issue 2, which will be edited by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.
In this post, we also talk about some planned changes we have coming up on Something Rhymed, which include opportunities for those who’d like to write a piece or two for the website or to help out with editorial or admin. Do take a look if you are interested.
To mark the occasion, Emma and I feel honoured to have a piece about the rivalrous friendship of Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf in the Paris Review. If you are interested in finding out more about this, and the other friendships we celebrate in our book, today’s blog post on Something Rhymed, the literary blog I run with Emma, takes a look back at some of our recent reviews and articles.
After knowing Emma for well over a decade-and-a-half, it is wonderful to have chance to celebrate this milestone in our own writing friendship.
It’s been ages since I posted anything here and so I thought I really ought to remedy this.
Emma Claire Sweeney and I have spent the greatest part of the past few months, working away on our co-authored book. Most frequently, we’ve been hunched over our desks in our own studies or at Senate House Library, but we also spent an enjoyable – if chilly – week in January on a Bread Matters Cultural Foundation residency near Lisbon.
This was, in fact, the same place that we’d taken ourselves off to when we were first planning our, then unnamed, website about female literary friendship, which we’ve been running for the past three years. So it seemed especially fitting to return here in early 2017, when we were in the final stages of editing our book on the literary friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontё, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf.
At last, the UK edition of A Secret Sisterhood has gone off to the printers and the US version will not be far behind. The UK edition is available for pre-order here, the US one here.
Unlike the posts we write on Something Rhymed, necessarily limited to a few hundred words, each section of A Secret Sisterhood delves in far greater detail into one of the book’s four main literary friendships. We’re both looking forward to hearing what readers think of the stories we’ll be sharing of Jane Austen and the amateur playwright Anne Sharp; Charlotte Brontё and the feminist author Mary Taylor; literary legends George Eliot and Harriet Beecher Stowe; and the combative, yet affectionate, friendship of Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf.
Another thing I’m eagerly anticipating is the prospect of doing more events with Emma. The last talk we gave at City, University of London – with Something Rhymed guest bloggers Susan Barker, Ann Morgan and Denise Saul – feels a very long time ago now, and so Emma and I are glad to be in the process of organising many more literary friendship-themed sessions. One of these will be the 46th annual lecture for the George Eliot Fellowship, at which we’ll be the keynote speakers. We’ll be focusing on Eliot’s transatlantic literary friendship with Stowe – surprisingly little known today despite its historical importance.
The lecture takes place at 2.30 pm on Saturday 16 September. Tickets can be purchased here.