WELCOME

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May 8, 2016 by Lydia Syson

Liberty's Fire Cover… you’ve reached the website of Lydia Syson, author of LIBERTY’S FIRE, THAT BURNING SUMMER, A WORLD BETWEEN US, & the biography DOCTOR OF LOVE: DR JAMES GRAHAM AND HIS CELESTIAL BED. Do click on ‘Reviews‘ to discover what other readers have thought of all these books, and then scroll down to find out more about the history behind the novels. For those on larger screens, on which this website works much better, apologies for any repetition. You’ll find the latest blogpost just below.

Find out about school visits and other author events here

Buy LIBERTY’S FIRE here
Buy THAT BURNING SUMMER here
Buy A WORLD BETWEEN US here or the iBook edition with extra features (music, interactive maps, photographs, interviews with historians, archive materials and more) here at iTunes
Buy DOCTOR OF LOVE here

Or better still, ask your nearest independent bookshop for the books, or order from Hive if you don’t have one. Special offers now at Nook and Kobo.


The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia: book review

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May 8, 2016 by Lydia Syson

red_virgin_mary_bryan_talbot_cape_cover-628x886Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with Louise Michel, teacher, poet and revolutionary heroine of the 1871 Paris Commune, but she’s not exactly a well-known figure in the English-speaking world.  Yet.  If The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, the new graphic biography by Mary M. Talbot and Bryan Talbot, has anything like the success of their remarkable first collaboration, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes – and it certainly deserves to – that could be about to change.

Michel is hardly obscure.  In fact she’s legendary.  She’s iconic.  In France (and indeed New Caledonia) there have been schools and streets and squares named after her, not to mention two International Brigade battalions and a Metro station.  She romanticised her own life in her keep reading


April news

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April 11, 2016 by Lydia Syson

Cue for Treaston Geoffrey Trease 1965 Puffin edition

A quick update…

Over at The History Girls, April is Shakespeare month, though not exclusively.  My contribution has been this exploration of the many different ways in which the Bard has been used by writers of children’s fiction, for which I enlisted the help of Tig Thomas, a friend, an editor and an anthologer who knows more about both Shakespeare and period children’s literature than anybody else I know.

keep reading


Judith Kerr

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March 8, 2016 by Lydia Syson

_H0B9828-142-141

Barely had I written this appreciation of Judith Kerr for The History Girls than I discovered that When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit was the subject of this month’s World Book Club programme on the BBC World Service.  What joy! (Nb that is permitted usage of the exclamation mark according to new DoE regulations.  The following isn’t.)  One of my all-time favourite children’s writers talking to my all-time favourite books presenter, Harriett Gilbert! You can listen yourself or download the programme here.

Happy International Women’s Day!

That delightful photograph was taken by Enda Bowe for Jewish Book Week.


US Cover Reveal

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February 26, 2016 by Lydia Syson

That Burning Summer 9781510711723

A complete change of style for the new cover of That Burning Summer which is coming out with Sky Pony Press in the US next January.  I’m delighted with it.  It captures the mood of the book and its setting beautifully.  I can’t wait to see how it goes down with American readers. Over to Christina Sapyta at Confessions of a Book Addict

keep reading


February News: National Libraries Day and Ebook Special Offers

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February 3, 2016 by Lydia Syson

New_Camberwell library

If you value your local library, this Saturday is the day to show your appreciation. Find out what’s going on near you here. Southwark residents like me have lots to celebrate, as our council has not only worked hard through the cuts to keep libraries open, but in Camberwell we’ve even got a brand new one, open seven days a week, and it’s glorious.  It’s hard to imagine a greater contrast to the dank, windowless basement that used to be Camberwell’s children’s library.  Things are very different just over the border in Lambeth, where half the keep reading


Happy ‘Nu’ Year

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January 6, 2016 by Lydia Syson

PracticalHouseholder

My New Year’s resolution should possibly be to work out how to exert better control over my headline images on WordPress…In fact, instead of website improvement, I’ve been preoccupied with 1950s home improvement at The History Girls this month, where I wonder if that whole decade wasn’t one big cover-up.  The post - The Mastery of Knack - was inspired by a Christmas present, a copy of The Practical Householder of October 1956. keep reading


Gingerbread Pigs

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December 13, 2015 by Lydia Syson

gingerbread pigs uncooked

My kitchen is heady with the scent of cloves and ginger and muscavado and cinnamon.  The biscuity part of our gingerbread house is ready to be stuck together with icing, and adorned with sweets. We will eat it on New Year’s eve.  Having managed to burn a few trayfuls during supper last night, we’ve still got more hearts and stars and snowflakes for presents and tree-hanging and emergency fuel to cut out and bake, and also, this year, pigs. keep reading


‘Resist the attempt to construct an argument’

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October 19, 2015 by Lydia Syson

Kentridge - Notes Towards A Model Opera - Dada on chinese text_1

This slogan flashed by while I sat enthralled by William Kentridge’s video installation Notes Towards a Model Opera at the Marian Goodman Gallery in Soho, London.  It made me smile because I now spend two days a week as a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at the Courtauld Institute for the History of Art encouraging students to construct an argument.  Yet when I’m writing fiction, arguments are something I know I have to resist, despite my political themes. keep reading


In which I go ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’…

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October 2, 2015 by Lydia Syson

DTRH

…with fellow History Girl, Catherine Johnson. A little over a year ago, the world of children’s literature cheered the launch of a brand new radio programme, DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE, broadcast from the creative and groundbreaking station Resonance FM.  Once a month, a thoroughly expert team – Katherine Woodfine of Booktrust, Louise Lamont of LBA and Melissa Cox of Waterstones – put together a book-packed 30 minute show which has proved itself an unmissable and wide-ranging guide to everything that’s new in children’s books. I know I’m addicted to archives, so I would say this, but trust me – the DTRH one is more accessible than most and well worth exploring! keep reading


Explore

"an outstanding debut novel for teenagers" THE GUARDIAN

"a fantastic historical fiction debut" THE BOOKSELLER

"a novel of extraordinary resonance and power" ARMADILLO

"a compelling story of politics and passion, bravery and love" BOOKTRUST

'the writing is powerful, the events terrifying' THE BOOKBAG

'Highly recommended' BOOKS FOR KEEPS

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