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 – 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!

An exciting delivery: my copies of Out of the Shadows arrive, plus reviews in Kirkus, Booklist, Library Journal and BookPage

A big box of author copies of my book Out of the Shadows: Six Visionary Victorian Women in Search of a Public Voice arrived this week – a great thrill for me, of course.

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.