Author Archive



    August 14, 2018 by Lydia Syson

    Adshot pic - best?… you’ve reached the website of Lydia Syson, author of MR PEACOCK’S POSSESSIONS, (aTimes and Sunday Times Book of the Year 2018, available as UK paperback from 21st March 2019), the YA historical/political novels LIBERTY’S FIRETHAT BURNING SUMMER, A WORLD BETWEEN US, & the biography DOCTOR OF LOVE: DR JAMES GRAHAM AND HIS CELESTIAL BED, all critically acclaimed. Do visit Reviews to discover what other readers have thought of all these books, and scroll down from there to find out more about the history behind each of the novels. You’ll find the latest blogpost just below

    Find out more about Lydia here, and about author events and school visits here and about academic writing workshops here.


    Buy LIBERTY’S FIRE here

    Buy THAT BURNING SUMMER here or here if you’re in the US

    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.

    Photograph by Gianluca De Girolamo, Adshot, London.


  2. Writers’ Rights and Human Rights


    July 16, 2018 by Lydia Syson

    Here’s a link to a piece I’ve written for the Historical Writers’ Association excellent online magazine, Historia about tackling slavery in fiction, and thinking through the risks of cultural appropriation. Comments are most welcome.

    You can join HWA here and subscribe to receive the latest Historia articles and reviews in your inbox here.

    And if you’ve not yet got a copy of Mr Peacock’s Possessions, and/or are setting off somewhere for the summer with minimal luggage and don’t want to be weighed down by a hardback, however beautiful, until the end of July only you can buy it the ebook to read on your phone, tablet or Kindle for a mere £1.49. It’s one of Amazon’s monthly deals.

  3. Reports from Raoul – 30.2622° S 178.5948° E


    June 14, 2018 by Lydia Syson

    I’ve been spending the week going through my notes and listening to sound recordings made on the HMNZS Canterbury in the Kermadecs earlier this year, reliving some magnificent moments as I write a number of features for various newspapers and magazines both on the expedition and the human history of Raoul Island. keep reading

  4. Bookings & Events


    May 24, 2018 by Lydia Syson

    Please contact to request more information or to make a booking for any kind of event. You’ll find more about school visits here and can also download full details:  Lydia Syson’s school visits

    Upcoming events will be found on the sidebar.

    If you’re interested in booking a school creative writing workshop at The Wallace Collection, follow the links below to find out more and book with the museum’s education department.

    Inspiration for Creative Writing (KS3 & 4)

    Choose Your Words (KS2)

    Getting Ready for Writing (KS1)


  5. Privacy Policy


    May 24, 2018 by Lydia Syson


    keep reading

  6. Mr Peacock’s Possessions: sources and background reading


    May 4, 2018 by Lydia Syson

    As noted in the book, the most important sources for Mr Peacock’s Possessions were:

    Elsie K Morton Crusoes of Sunday Island, 1957.

    Steven Gentry, Raoul & the Kermadecs: New Zealand’s Northernmost Islands, Steele Roberts, 2013.

    Margaret Pointer, Niue 1774-1974: 200 years of contact and change, Otago University Press, 2015.

    SOAS London Missionary Society Archives

    keep reading

  7. Heading towards publication day. . .


    May 3, 2018 by Lydia Syson

    As I write this in London, the Kermadecs – the chain of volcanic islands in the Pacific where Mr Peacock’s Possessions is set – feel further away than ever.  Here’s a photograph of me back in March saying a sad farewell to Raoul, reimagined in my book as Monday Island.  I’d come within feet of its landing rock in a NZ Navy speedboat, flown over the island in a  keep reading

  8. 2018 news


    February 24, 2018 by Lydia Syson

    A book cover, an expedition, a story. keep reading

  9. Authors for Grenfell Tower auction


    June 23, 2017 by Lydia Syson

    Raise money for residents affected by the Grenfell Towers fire through the Red Cross London Fire Relief Fund and get a bookish bargain at the same time. There’s so much on offer here from tea with authors, a cookery lesson – even your entire family in a children’s novel!

    Bid generously and frequently.  Buy for yourself! Buy for others!  Get ahead with Christmas, birthday, wedding presents…endless options.  It’s incredibly easy to bid and you can do it from all over the world.  Just enter the amount you’d like to pay in sterling in the comments section.

    I’m offering help with your writing – fiction or non-fiction.  Full details here.

    Thanks for your support and for spreading the word.

  10. World Book Week writing competition results. . . and other news


    June 6, 2017 by Lydia Syson

    Authors aren’t just for World Book Day, and the positive effects of an author visiting a school continue to have an impact long after books and banners have been packed up.  (Here I am at Sidcot School, Somerset, where bookseller Books on the Hill kindly looked after sales and signing.) Not that the author always sees this.  Happily, some of the schools I visited in March this year have sent me a selection of the writing their students produced in response to our sessions. I promised to send a hardback copy of the US edition of That Burning Summer to the author of the story I liked best.  Little did I realise how hard it would be to choose.

    keep reading

"A mesmerising portrait of a family unravelling" THE TIMES (Best historical fiction in 2018)

"Powerful, intense and beautiful" HISTORICAL NOVEL REVIEW

"This tense, evocative, richly-imagined novel conjures the voices of a strange time and place, and makes them universal" EMMA DARWIN

"A wonderful book" CAROL DRINKWATER

"A fantastic historical fiction debut" THE BOOKSELLER

"Syson brings history alive" THE OBSERVER

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