October 19, 2015 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 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.

  2. ‘Resist the attempt to construct an argument’


    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

  3. In which I go ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’…


    October 2, 2015 by Lydia Syson


    …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

  4. Who are you like?


    September 18, 2015 by Lydia Syson


    UKYAX is all about breaking down barriers between readers and writers, and finding new ways to spread the word about books. With that in mind, Chelley Toy and I have had emails flying back and forth all week concocting a quiz to whet your appetite for the Nottingham event, and introduce you to some of the characters in my novels. Now step this way to discover your (historical) fictional twin…  keep reading

  5. UKYA Extravaganza


    September 6, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    wXpiauM-_biggerI’m not sure if it sounds more like a circus or a speed-dating event for authors and readers, but I am absolutely certain that the second ever UKYA Extravaganza on October 2015 is going to be a sell out. If you live anywhere near Nottingham and want to come, do book as soon as you can. These events are all about bringing YA authors to fans outside London – read here keep reading

  6. In the footsteps of Communards


    July 6, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    Int Schl Prospectus 1890(2)

    What happened to the revolutionaries who managed to escape Paris after the bloody fall of the Commune? Over three thousand ended up in London, men, women and children too. I’ve blogged about following the trail of some of those exiles today at The History Girls.  Follow the link to find out more about what I found, including ’bloody foreigners’, police spies, chemistry lessons and Louise Michel’s International School in Fitzrovia.

  7. ‘The Red Virgin’


    June 23, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    Louise_Michel_home later years

    There is a character in Liberty’s Fire who is not named, but can be easily identified as Louise Michel, the best known of a number of impressive citoyennes featured in this blog post last month. Michel was one of many Communards who took refuge in London, and Fitzrovia in particular, to escape political repression in France in the aftermath of the Commune – even after the ‘Amnesty’ – and it was here that she met my great-great grandmother, N.F.Dryhurst, a member of the English Anarchist group. keep reading

  8. Meet the archivist…at the Marx Memorial Library


    June 6, 2015 by Lydia Syson


    This interview first appeared on The History Girls blogsite on June 6th 2015: 

    In April I wrote about the Conscience and Conflict exhibition of British artists’ responses to the Spanish Civil War, which closes tomorrow. If you’ve been lucky enough to see it, either in Chichester or Newcastle, you may have noticed some wonderful loans from the Marx Memorial Library, home of the British International Brigade archives.  This rich and varied collection is just one reason to visit the Library, which now offers twice-weekly guided tours. I’ve been talking to the MML’s new(ish) archivist and development officer, Meirian Jump, pictured here at work in the reading room in front of a mural by Viscount Hastings, painted in 1934. keep reading

  9. Blog tour roundup. . .


    May 12, 2015 by Lydia Syson


    Liberty’s Fire is now out in the world, and the first reviews have even appeared – you’ll find links to all those online here.  Oddly enough, I find that even when a book is printed and published, it’s only when people who’ve read it start to ask me questions that I really begin to know what I think about it.  Last week I was keep reading

  10. Citoyennes: women of the Paris Commune


    May 5, 2015 by Lydia Syson


    The mythical figure of the pétroleuse, hideous or heroic depending on your point of view, has now almost been forgotten. For decades it was the most abiding image of the 1871 Paris Commune, and undoubtedly helped to hide the true history of real women’s involvement in France’s last nineteenth-century revolution. Edith Thomas broke new ground in uncovering this history with Les Petroleuses (1963), angry yet almost apologetic about the need for a corrective to misogynistic accounts of events coming from both sides of the political divide. I’ve written about the ‘women incendiaries’ for The History Girls keep reading


Lydia Syson"an outstanding debut novel for teenagers" THE GUARDIAN

"a fantastic historical fiction debut" THE BOOKSELLER

"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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