Blog

  1. Hiawatha: Photographer

    0

    November 24, 2014 by Lydia Syson

    Hiawathphotographing

    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


  2. Stiff Upper Lips

    0

    October 28, 2014 by Lydia Syson

    'Shell Shock' by Nicholas Lens and Nick Cave at La Monnaie Opera House, Brussels http://www.lamonnaie.be/en/opera/

    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


  3. ‘Maximum meaning, minimum means’

    0

    October 6, 2014 by Lydia Syson

    GamesGrowYourOwnFood

    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’.)


  4. School visits: bonus time

    0

    September 18, 2014 by Lydia Syson

    01-Fountain-pen-nib

    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


  5. Summer news – updated

    0

    August 1, 2014 by Lydia Syson

    Daumiernewspaperreading

    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


  6. Darkling I listen

    1

    July 3, 2014 by Lydia Syson

    Nightingale-Luscinia-mega-006

    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


  7. Celebrating Romance

    0

    June 5, 2014 by Lydia Syson

    romancefestival_red_final

    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


  8. Observe yourself

    2

    May 11, 2014 by Lydia Syson

    Orwellaspidistra

    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.

    keep reading


  9. Writing competition results

    3

    May 2, 2014 by Lydia Syson

    Warsaw, September 1939

    Last month I wrote about a high-tech school visit I’d made to Sydenham School in South London. Today I’m delighted to announce the results of the creative writing competition. keep reading


  10. Diving deeper: into the ‘Glass Room’

    0

    April 27, 2014 by Lydia Syson

    South London Press, 21.3.14

    Writing historical fiction demands total immersion.  It’s a fairly obsessive process, but well worth it.  Bit by bit, you build up an increasingly accurate and nuanced picture of the world your characters inhabit, discover what makes them tick, what might affect the way they think and feel about events.  Not surprisingly, I was immediately intrigued when I was invited to use the new ‘immersion room’ at Sydenham School, London, for a planned event with some of their year 8 and 9 students. keep reading


Welcome

Find out about SCHOOL VISITS here

Buy A WORLD BETWEEN US here

Buy THAT BURNING SUMMER here

Events

10 February 2015:Camberwell Library book group author visit

7 May 2015:LIBERTY'S FIRE PUBLICATION DATE!

15 May 2015:Philosophy Football event

Enter your email address to subscribe to my blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.