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.

Out of the Shadows – coming in May 2021

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 Women in 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.