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  1. WELCOME

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    February 3, 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
    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.


  2. 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


  3. 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


  4. 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


  5. ‘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


  6. 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


  7. Who are you like?

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    September 18, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    ChelleToy

    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


  8. UKYA Extravaganza

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    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


  9. In the footsteps of Communards

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    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.


  10. ‘The Red Virgin’

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    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


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Lydia Syson"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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