New Blood for the Republic: the Spanish Civil War, eighty years on0
September 6, 2016 by Lydia Syson
80th anniversary commemorations and conferences have been taking place up and down this country as well as Spain to mark the Spanish Civil War, initiated by a right-wing military coup in July 1936, followed by Franco’s long dictatorship. It’s a measure of just how involved Britain was in the conflict which many see as a rehearsal for World War Two. Giving a paper myself about the evolution of my YA novel A World Between Us at the fascinating ‘Spanish Civil War in World Literature’ conference at London’s School of Advanced Studies, I mentioned the iBook edition which was put together in 2012 with the generous help of vast numbers of archives and libraries in the UK and US (thanks here). The image above of a young female anti-fascist donating blood to be sent to the front lines for wounded Republican soldiers was provided by the London School of Economics. The iBook keep reading
Category News | Tags: 80th anniversary, A WORLD BETWEEN US, archives, David Lomon, digital humanities, Franco, iBook, multimedia, Spanish Civil War
The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia: book review0
May 8, 2016 by Lydia Syson
Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with Louise Michel, teacher, poet and revolutionary heroine of the 1871 Paris Commune, but she’s not exactly a well-known figure in the English-speaking world. Yet. If The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, the new graphic biography by Mary M. Talbot and Bryan Talbot, has anything like the success of their remarkable first collaboration, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes – and it certainly deserves to – that could be about to change.
Michel is hardly obscure. In fact she’s legendary. She’s iconic. In France (and indeed New Caledonia) there have been schools and streets and squares named after her, not to mention two International Brigade battalions and a Metro station. She romanticised her own life in her keep reading
Category News | Tags: Bryan Talbot, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Dotter of Her Father's Eyes, Graphic novel, Liberty's Fire, Louise Michel, Mary M Talbot, Paris Commune, The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, Utopia
April 11, 2016 by Lydia Syson
A quick update…
Over at The History Girls, April is Shakespeare month, though not exclusively. My contribution has been this exploration of the many different ways in which the Bard has been used by writers of children’s fiction, for which I enlisted the help of Tig Thomas, a friend, an editor and an anthologer who knows more about both Shakespeare and period children’s literature than anybody else I know.
Category News | Tags: Carnegie Library, CWISL, library closures, library protests, Marx Memorial Library, Shakespeare in Children's Fiction, Shakespeare month, Shoutsouth
March 8, 2016 by Lydia Syson
Barely had I written this appreciation of Judith Kerr for The History Girls than I discovered that When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit was the subject of this month’s World Book Club programme on the BBC World Service. What joy! (Nb that is permitted usage of the exclamation mark according to new DoE regulations. The following isn’t.) One of my all-time favourite children’s writers talking to my all-time favourite books presenter, Harriett Gilbert! You can listen yourself or download the programme here.
Happy International Women’s Day!
That delightful photograph was taken by Enda Bowe for Jewish Book Week.
Category News | Tags: Judith Kerr, World Book Club
US Cover Reveal2
February 26, 2016 by Lydia Syson
A complete change of style for the new cover of That Burning Summer which is coming out with Sky Pony Press in the US next January. I’m delighted with it. It captures the mood of the book and its setting beautifully. I can’t wait to see how it goes down with American readers. Over to Christina Sapyta at Confessions of a Book Addict…
Category News | Tags:
February News: National Libraries Day and Ebook Special Offers0
February 3, 2016 by Lydia Syson
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
Category News | Tags: A WORLD BETWEEN US, Camberwell Library, CWISL, Durning Library, ebook offer, ebook promo, ePub, iBook, Kobo, Lambeth Libraries, Liberty's Fire, National Libraries Day, Nook, Romantic reads, Sainsbury's ebooks, Valentine's Day reads
Happy ‘Nu’ Year4
January 6, 2016 by Lydia Syson
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
Category News | Tags: A WORLD BETWEEN US, Cold War, DIY, Liberty's Fire, Luc Sante, Practical Householder, Sky Pony Press, Spanish Civil War, Steven Pinker, Style, That Burning Summer, The Other Paris, The Sense of Style
December 13, 2015 by Lydia Syson
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
Category News | Tags: Armadillo, best gingerbread recipe, Christmas gingerbread, Gingerbread fair, Gingerbread recipe, Liberty's Fire, old-fashioned gingerbread, Paris Commune, Paris en Images, Place du Trône, Prue Leith, Roger-Viollet archive, The History Girls
‘Resist the attempt to construct an argument’2
October 19, 2015 by Lydia Syson
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
Category News | Tags: Art, Carnegie, Cultural Revolution, Dada Masilo, Liberty's Fire, librarians, Marian Goodman, More Sweetly Play the Dance, Notes Towards a Model Opera, opera, Paris Commune, Revolution, William Kentridge
In which I go ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’…0
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
Category News | Tags: Children's books, Down the Rabbit Hole, Katherine Woodfine, Lady Caraboo, Liberty's Fire, Louise Lamont, Melissa Cox, radio, Resonance FM, Timbutoo