Len Crome Memorial Lecture 2014: Taking Sides

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March 2, 2014 by Lydia Syson

Hora de Espana magazine cover

The Spanish Civil War ‘gripped the imagination of a generation’, said Valentine Cunningham this weekend at Taking Sides: Artists and Writers on the Spanish Civil War.  To judge from the huge and variously-aged turnout at the event, not to mention the responses I’ve had from young readers of my own novel on the subject, it will continue to do so for several generations to come.   keep reading


National Libraries Day

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February 8, 2014 by Lydia Syson

NDL

Today’s the day to show your love for all the libraries in the country, and celebrate with millions of other library lovers. You can read my guest blog for NLD2014 here and find out more about events near you and get involved here.  So here’s to libraries everywhere! Can you imagine life without them?


Authors Take Sides

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January 26, 2014 by Lydia Syson

NancyCunardlyingdown

Who is this glorious woman?

If you saw the recent production of The Scottsboro Boys at the Young Vic in London you’ll be interested in her involvement in the campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic to free these nine young black men falsely charged with raping two white women on a freight train in Alabama in 1931.  The dazzlingly beautiful, taboo-breaking daughter of a British shipping magnate, Nancy Cunard started her career as a journalist with the Associated Negro Press (ANP), but she was also a poet, political activist and a publisher.  Charismatic and idealistic, she clearly had a genius for motivating the radical intellectual circles, black and white, in which she largely moved. keep reading


Ravilious

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January 14, 2014 by Lydia Syson

HMS Ark Royal in Action© IWM (Art.IWM ART LD 284)

Ravilious in Pictures: The War Paintings by James Russell (The Mainstone Press) – one of the most thoughtful and appropriate Christmas presents I received last month – has many resonances for That Burning Summer.  Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) was probably the best known of the three British Official War Artists who were killed during the Second World War, keep reading


Wartime Christmas

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December 22, 2013 by Lydia Syson

Carnegie Advent

Today’s war-themed window in the Carnegie 2014 Advent Calendar by We Sat Down is my inspiration for this final post of the year. Christmas in wartime tends to be peculiarly poignant – so often dark with separation, and haunted by the ghosts of past celebrations.  Ritual is disrupted, and hope can seem fragile.  Both That Burning Summer and A World Between Us include not scenes, but memories of Christmas. keep reading


Competition: The History Girls

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November 30, 2013 by Lydia Syson

Fairfield church interior with hopsThis week there’s a chance to win a copy of That Burning Summer thanks to the The History Girls - if you already don’t know this consistently thought-provoking blog, I highly recommend exploring it.  Find out here how mooching for years on Romney Marsh inspired me to writeThat Burning Summer,  keep reading


Island of Last Hope

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November 25, 2013 by Lydia Syson

Pilots_of_No._303_(Polish)_Squadron_RAF_with_one_of_their_Hawker_Hurricanes,_October_1940._CH1535

A group of Polish fighter pilots walking away from a Hawker Hurricane in October 1940, probably at RAF Northolt in West London. They were apparently photographed after a sortie – one of over a thousand made in the first six months alone of Squadron 303′s formation.  The expressions on these young men’s faces are mixed – relief, uncertainty, perhaps even surprise and joy that they are actually still alive. keep reading


The return of Asterix: the Verdict

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November 12, 2013 by Lydia Syson

asterix&thepicts

The first hint was an intriguing question in the Guardian Quiz (no. 3), then a query on Twitter. Just in time for half-term, we finally got our hands on Asterix and the Picts, the first new book in the series to be created by an entirely new writing/drawing team. keep reading


The Comfort of Fellow Writers

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October 31, 2013 by Lydia Syson

1001 Wonderful Things

Today marks my first ever contribution to a blog that I’ve found both addictive and invaluable for the past few years.  I’ve written a guest post called ‘Guilty Pleasures’ about the influence of 1940s films on the writing of That Burning Summer, for ‘An Awfully Big Blog Adventure - the ramblings of a few scattered authors‘.    keep reading


News and Pictures

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October 18, 2013 by Lydia Syson

OutsidereviewTBSlaunch

Huge thanks to everyone who came to Review bookshop to welcome That Burning Summer into the world on October 4th – was that really a fortnight ago? And was it really only a year since we’d been at Cable Street, singing and celebrating the birth of A World Between Us, Hot Key’s fourth ever title? keep reading