December 7, 2014 by Lydia Syson
If you head over to The History Girls, you’ll find some seasonal thoughts on candlelight through time, how light can affect plot, and the magical experience of watching ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore from the Musicians’ Gallery of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
November 24, 2014 by Lydia Syson
As some of you may know from my most recent post on The History Girls, I’ve been doing a lot of research this year into nineteenth-century photography for my new book, Liberty’s Fire. One day, just as I was despairing that I would ever get my head round the different processes involved in wet, as opposed to dry, collodion, or daguerreotype and tintype, or remember exactly how long each stage might take, or which chemicals would have what effect, let alone weave this seamlessly into a gripping narrative, I came across a wonderful poem by Lewis Carroll which made me laugh out loud. Since I am deep in edits, I thought I’d share it with you now. keep reading
October 28, 2014 by Lydia Syson
A few days ago, a new opera called Shell Shock premiered in Brussels, just one of the huge number of commemorative events marking the anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. Works of art such as Pat Barker’s mesmerising Regeneration trilogy have already made a huge contribution to our understanding of shell shock, though sadly, not enough to ensure we are dealing with it effectively today. ‘You don’t ever get over it’ was the headline of a disturbing article in last week’s Guardian about the treatment – or non-treatment – of combat stress today, through interviews with British soldiers who have served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Northern Ireland. Names change - in the 19th century it was known keep reading
Category Blog | Tags: aeroneurosis, Bomber Command, Combat Stress, Flying Personnel Research Committee, flying stress, George Cocker, Joana Bourke, La Monnaie, Lack of Moral Fibre, LMF, morale, neurasthenia, opera, RAF, Salamander Oasis, Shell shock, soldier's heart, That Burning Summer, WW2
October 6, 2014 by Lydia Syson
Today’s my first post as one of the History Girls…from now on you’ll find me there on the 6th of every month. Follow the link to find out more about the man behind this brilliant image. (Not an artist, but ‘a graphic thinker’.)
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September 18, 2014 by Lydia Syson
There’s something particularly satisfying about reading creative work that’s been produced by students after a school visit. Last summer I went to talk to a group of Year 9 girls at Streatham and Clapham High School, who were – most impressively – finding out about the Spanish Civil War in Spanish. I thought it was such an imaginative approach to learning a language, and it was fantastic to meet students so engaged with the history and culture of Spain. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to give my talk in Spanish. Even better, the project led to some wonderful pieces of writing in English, the best of which – by Anna and Lulu – you can read below. keep reading
August 1, 2014 by Lydia Syson
This is a bits-and-pieces, catch-up kind of a post, mostly to express my gratitude to lots of different people who’ve helped me in my work in lots of different ways over the past few months… keep reading
Category Blog | Tags: Anne Clark, Catherine Clarke, City University, CWISL, Felicity Bryan, Flubit competition, Im Dunklen Licht der Tage, National Literacy Trust, Picture Book Agent, Teaching and Mentoring, The History Girls, Two Turtle Doves, Where's Wally fun run
July 3, 2014 by Lydia Syson
I’ve only heard a nightingale sing once, in a wood near Bristol, when I was in my early twenties. Last Sunday I stood in the dark and listened to a recording made in 1942, in Surrey. This nightingale was ‘pouring forth its soul abroad’ – rather more widely even than Keats’ bird, since it was being broadcast live by the BBC – in a short-lived annual tradition that was about to end. It was broken that night because the engineer realised that his new high-fidelity microphone was also picking up the growing hum of a flight of bombers. Nearly two hundred aircraft were heading for Germany, and he did not want to warn the enemy of the impending raid. Fortunately he continued to record, if not to broadcast, and the result is now part of The Wind Tunnel Project. keep reading
June 5, 2014 by Lydia Syson
Think of historical romance, and I suspect you’ll find yourself instantly bogged down in swathes of taffeta, tripping over corset-laces and tumbling into somebody’s moonlit arms beneath ivy-bedecked castle walls. keep reading
Category Blog | Tags: #Romance14, Cathy Hopkins, Catnip, clean teen, Competition, digital romance, Emily Thomas, giveaway, historical romance, Keris Stainton, Liz Bankes, London Books, political romance, Romance Festival, steamy, UKYA
May 11, 2014 by Lydia Syson
Fieldwork. An anthropology of our own people, in the name of progress. Political empowerment. Or covert surveillance? Furtive notebooks and licked pencils? Psychoanthroposociologic Nosey Parkers, according to the Daily Herald.
You would struggle to find anything more utterly characteristic of the 1930s than the Mass Observation movement, and the mixed responses this social observation project provoked. I don’t think I could have written That Burning Summer without the help of the Mass Observers.
May 2, 2014 by Lydia Syson