Out of the Shadows – out in paperback today!

I’m so happy to be able to let you know that my group biography, Out of the Shadows: Six Visionary Victorian Women in Search of a Public Voice is now available in paperback. A lot has happened in my life since the hardback came out over a year ago – and just weeks before my son, Dylan, was born.

In addition to reviews in the Wall Street Journal, Times Literary Supplement, New York Journal of Books and others, the book was featured in an essay in the New Yorker. I was also asked to talk about the history of Spiritualism in an article in the New York Times and in episode five of BBC Radio 4’s Battersea Poltergeist podcast. Out of the Shadows was one of Bookmarks’ Best Reviewed Books of the Week. Extracts from the book appeared in Crime Reads, Literary Hub and UEA New Writing. These excerpts focused on Victoria Woodhull, America’s first female presidential candidate, and the Fox sisters, whose apparent abilities to contact the dead sparked a transatlantic séance craze.

I also wrote a few features of my own, which gave me the chance to talk about Georgina Weldon – whose Spiritualist beliefs nearly saw her confined to an asylum, but who went on to become a campaigner against archaic lunacy laws – and controversial ‘trance lecturer’ Emma Hardinge Britten, famed for her ‘Great Funeral Oration on Abraham Lincoln’, which was watched by a crowd of thousands. I’m now working on some pieces to tie in with the release of the paperback. I’ll add links to them on this page of the website once they’re published.

Getting back to the subject of Dylan, he and his sister, Lola, are doing well. At one and three years old respectively, they are more or less oblivious to all of the above, but perhaps one day they’ll be interested to hear that much of the research and writing of this book happened alongside my two pregnancies and their births – a subject I explored in a post for Women Writers, Women’s Books.

In other news, I returned to my academic post teaching writing at NYU London earlier this month. After a longer-than-expected break, taking in two stints of maternity leave and a pandemic-related absence from campus, I’m enjoying being back in the classroom again and having the chance to share the work of writers I admire with a new intake of students.

Finally, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who bought a copy of Out of the Shadows, borrowed one from a library, helped spread the word on social media, in a blog or podcast, or by old-fashioned word of mouth. Your support has meant so much to me. I’m now hard at work on a new book and will be sharing updates on that in the months to come.

Contributor at NAWE Conference 2011

As a newish member of NAWE (National Association of Writers in Education) I was keen to attend their annual conference this year.

In addition to going to several inspiring talks and workshops given by other writers, I also had the chance to read a paper of my own as part of a New York University in London panel made up of the fiction writer Emma Claire Sweeney, the playwright Julia Pascal and myself.

Our subject was “Cross-cultural creative writing for study abroad” and we used our session to share some of the strategies we’ve developed for teaching writing to international students who are here in the UK as part of their university studies.

Having never been to a NAWE conference before, I have to say that for me the whole weekend was a great experience. I really enjoyed getting to meet some of the other conference delegates, and I’d like to thank the writers and writing tutors who attended our talk. I hope you found it useful.