Bitten By Witch Fever

As my next book will be coming out just before Hallowe’en, it seems suitable that it has the title of Bitten By Witch Fever. It’s about arsenic in the Victorian home, focusing especially on wallpaper. There are many gorgeous wallpapers reproduced in the book, all of which are from the National Archives at Kew – and they were all tested for the presence of arsenic as part of the project….


Bitten by Witch Fever jacket copy_LH

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Moustaches, Whiskers & Beards on BBC PM

One of the most random moments in my life so far was being in a bar in Sri Lanka when my phone went crazy with producers from the BBC trying to contact me. They wanted to tell me the groundbreaking news that Nigel Farage had grown a moustache and to interview me in my capacity as author of Moustaches, Whiskers & Beards (published by the National Portrait Gallery). This is the resultant interview, which is on at minute 26, it’ll be available to listen to until 12 September. Sadly my comments about what my advice would be to Nigel Farage (which had nothing to do with his moustache) weren’t included.

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Ways With Words Festival

I’m very excited to be taking part in the Ways With Words literature festival at Dartington Hall, in Devon. I’ll be speaking about my new book Charles Dickens and his Circle at 1.30pm on Weds 13 July 2016. You can book tickets here via their website:–co-1793

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Hexham Book Festival 2016

I’m really looking forward to returning to the Hexham Book Festival. I’ll be speaking about my latest book, Charles Dickens and his Circle on the evening of Tues 3 May. More details here:

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Free event at the Free Library

If you’re in Philadelphia this Saturday (30 April), apply now for free tickets to my author talk on Queen Victoria’s Mysterious Daughter at the Free Library (which is also renowned as the home of Grip, Charles Dickens’s pet raven, who the author had stuffed after his sad demise).

Books will be being sold afterwards by The Spiral Bookcase (


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Hudson, Ohio

Thank you to everyone at the Hudson Library and Historical Centre for a great evening on Tuesday – and thanks as well to the Learned Owl bookshop, for supporting the event and selling books.

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Listed Londoner on the Robert Elms Show (BBC London)

I was thrilled to be invited onto the Robert Elms Show on BBC London radio as a Listed Londoner, the interview is online here.

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BBC Berkshire

Today I was interviewed by the lovely Lynn Parsons for BBC Berkshire, about my latest book, Charles Dickens and his Circle (my segment starts at 2.08).

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A talk in aid of Maggie’s Cancer Centres

On Weds 21 March, I’ll be giving a talk on “Strong Women” (inspired by the research for my book March, Women, March) at the Maggie’s Cancer Centre at Charing Cross Hospital, London W6. Tickets and more information on how you can support Maggie’s can be found here:

All proceeds from the evening are going directly to Maggie’s. Please spread the word, thank you.

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Glad to be Grey (BBC Radio 4)

At 11am on 4 March 2016, I’ll be one of Mary Beard’s interviewees in the documentary “Glad to be Grey”, on BBC Radio 4.

I was interviewed about the history of Victorian beard dyeing, as the author of the book Moustaches, Whiskers & Beards rather than as a pogonophobe….

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Walking With Dickens

To celebrate the launch of my new book, Charles Dickens and his Circle, I shall be leading a guided walk around Dickens’s London, starting at 2pm on Weds 16 March, at Chancery Lane station. Tickets are available to buy in advance (please follow the link below), or feel free to email me ( and reserve a place.

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Dickens Museum Special Event 16 March

On the evening of Weds 16 March, I’ll be talking about my new book, Charles Dickens and his Circle, at the Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street, London. Tickets are now on sale (& must be booked in advance).

Attendees will also have the exclusive chance to see around the museum at night.

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Book Launch at National Portrait Gallery

On the evening of Thurs 10 March, I’ll be launching my new book, Charles Dickens and his Circle, with a lecture and book signing at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Tickets must be booked in advance.

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Book talk & signing in New Jersey

On the evening of Wednesday 9 December, I’ll be talking about Princess Louise & signing copies of Queen Victoria’s Mysterious Daughter at Booktowne in Manasquan, New Jersey.

Please spread the word and please come along if you’re based in Philadelphia, New Jersey or New York.

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7 November 2015 horizontal rule

Book Talk & Signing in Houston, Texas

On Weds 2 December (5pm-7pm) I’ll be talking about Princess Louise and signing copies of Queen Victoria’s Mysterious Daughter at the River Oaks Bookstore in Houston, TX.

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A sneak preview of my next book…


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Malton Dickens festival – with Miriam Margolyes

I’m thrilled to be joining fellow Dickensians Miriam Margolyes (who needs no introduction!) and Professor Michael Slater at the new Dickens & Christmas festival in Malton, Yorkshire, this December. I’ll be speaking at the Talbot Hotel on the afternoon of Saturday 19 December. Tickets are available now.

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Princess Louise’s new look for America

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31 October 2015 horizontal rule

Princess Louise in America

My biography of the sculptor Princess Louise is being published in North America this December, by St Martin’s Press in New York City:

I will be in NYC for a couple of days in December, so please get in touch if you would like to arrange an interview.


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March, Women, March at Conrad St James

Thank you to the staff of Conrad St James hotel in London for a perfect purple, white & green evening. I spoke about March, Women, March and the film Suffragette with Dr Helen Pankhurst (great granddaughter of Emmeline and Richard Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst), in the hotel’s aptly named Emmeline room. The ticket price included a donation to the charity Helen works for, Care International.

If you were in the audience, thank you, as you were a great audience to talk to – and you came up with fascinating questions.

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The Victorian Treasury

My latest book The Victorian Treasury is coming out with Carlton Books on 8 October and is available now to pre-order:

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Lizzie Siddal talk in London

On 16 September I’m doing a talk on Lizzie Siddal, for the UK Friends of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, at the Cafe Royal in Piccadilly, London, tickets are available here:

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Dickens at the Keats-Shelley House

On 28 April I will be talking about Charles Dickens’s travels in Italy at the Keats-Shelley House in Rome. Many people aren’t aware that Dickens and his family lived in Italy for a year, residing in Genoa, and that he travelled widely around the country researching his second travelogue, Pictures from Italy.

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John Singer Sargent talk in Bristol

At 7pm on 11 February, I’ll be talking about John Singer Sargent at Bristol Art Gallery. Tickets are just £3. More info here:

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March, Women, March in Winchester

I’ll be talking about March, Women, March in Winchester on the evening of Friday 13 February:

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Keats-Shelley House

On Tuesday 28 April, I’ll be in Rome to give a talk at the Keats-Shelley House, more info to follow soon:

9 January 2015 horizontal rule

Why the World Still Loves Charles Dickens (BBC Culture)

My latest article for BBC Culture on the fascination with Charles Dickens all over the world:

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My first beard interview

My first interview since the publication of Moustaches, Whiskers & Beards:


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Moustaches, Whiskers & Beards

My upcoming book is my first title for National Portrait Gallery publications. It looks at the history of facial hair from cave men to Conchita Wurst and uses some of the gallery’s best, worst and most hilarious examples of facial hair in portraits (not only of men, there are also a couple of women within its pages). The book is coming out on 20 October and you can find out more here:

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Secrets from the Clink

My episode of Secrets From The Clink is on ITV Player (I’m in the later sections of Michelle Collins’ story about debtors’ prisons):

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The Mystery of Princess Louise in paperback

The beautiful paperback edition of The Mystery of Princess Louise is now available to pre-order.

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Princess Louise talk in aid of Parkinson’s UK

On the morning of 22 October 2014, I’ll be doing a fundraising talk about The Mystery of Princess Louise, in aid of Parkinson’s UK at the Cadogan Hall in Chelsea, London.

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William Morris museum, Walthamstow

On the evening of 22 October 2014 I’ll be speaking about Pre-Raphaelite Women at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow. Tickets will be available from the gallery nearer the time.

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Spark Inside

I’m very pleased to have been asked to give a fundraising speech for an inspirational new charity, Spark Inside:

The talk will be on Dickens and Prisons and will take place on 3 November. More information to follow.

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Wisbech and Princess Louise

Off to the Wisbech Festival today to talk about The Mystery of Princess Louise.

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Princess Louise & Octavia Hill

Come along to the Wisbech Arts Festival next week. I’ll be speaking about Princess Louise’s friendship with Octavia Hill at 2pm on Thurs 15 May. Follow the link and the eagle-eyed amongst you will notice they have spelt my name incorrectly…

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Ruskin, Dickens & the Pre-Raphaelites

Tickets are now available from The Ruskin Society for my talk on 12 May on Ruskin, Dickens & the Pre-Raphaelites. It’s at 7pm at the Artworkers’ Guild in Queen Square, London.

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Chwarae Teg

I was thrilled to be asked to deliver the inaugural lecture for Chwarae Teg at Cardiff University this week, here are some pictures of what was a great evening:

Thank you to Chwarae Teg and GRO Cardiff for inviting me and to the audience for being so enthusiastic.

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Majesty magazine

My biography of the sculptor Princess Louise is “Book of the Month” in the latest edition of Majesty magazine. It is described as: “Spirited and lively, The Mystery of Princess Louise is richly packed with arguments, intrigues, scandals and secrets, and is a vivid portrait of a princess desperate to escape her inheritance”.

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Royalty magazine

Princess Louise merits eight pages in the latest edition of Royalty magazine! Jonathan Taylor’s great review ends with the words: “With royal biography the reviewer’s task can sometimes be a disappointing one, faced with little more than the updated retelling or, worse still, hagiography. The Mystery of Princess Louise stands out as a bold and insightful portrait of a remarkable woman.”

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Voices and Images of the First World War

My talk about the language and images of propaganda in the First World War (delivered for the British Council and the English Speaking Union) is available to watch on YouTube: 

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30 January 2014 horizontal rule

A beautiful, charming, unusual princess

Rachel Crossley in The Observer writes of my biography of Princess Louise: “I was … far too caught up with this improbable princess, a beautiful, charming woman who loved to bicycle and to smoke, who was always happy to share her recipe for oyster path and who holidayed, at the end of her life, in Sidmouth, where she enjoyed the table d’hote at the exclusive Fortfield hotel.”

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13 January 2014 horizontal rule

The Times & Princess Louise

I was thrilled that The Times made The Mystery of Princess Louise their Book of the Week last week and this week she’s their Critic’s Choice. Thank you! Find out more here:

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29 December 2013 horizontal rule

The Daily Mail & The Mystery of Princess Louise

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The first newspaper to write about my new book, The Mystery of Princess Louise, was The Daily Mail, under the following headline: “Queen Victoria’s ravishing daughter, a secret love and a sex scandal the Royal Family’s STILL trying to cover up”.

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Lizzie Siddal at the Arcola Theatre

I really enjoyed the new play about Lizzie Siddal, by Jeremy Green at the Arcola Theatre, the cast is excellent. If you want to know more, here’s an article from the Daily Express:

My biography, Lizzie Siddal, The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel, which inspired Jeremy’s play, is now out in paperback.

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The Today Programme, on BBC Radio 4

On Monday morning I was asked onto The Today Programme to talk about why I was denied access to Princess Louise’s files in the Royal Archives while working on my book The Mystery of Princess Louise, you can listen to part of the interview here:

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29 November 2013 horizontal rule

The Daily Mail on “The Invisible Woman”

Christopher Hastings from The Daily Mail called to ask me about my opinion of the new Ralph Fiennes film, The Invisible Woman (based on Claire Tomalin’s excellent biography of Ellen Ternan):

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The Daily Telegraph on Princess Louise

An article on my book The Mystery of Princess Louise, in the Daily Telegraph: “Queen Victoria’s rebellious sixth daughter Princess Louise had an illegitimate child with her brother’s tutor, a leading biographer has claimed” by Alice Philipson:

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29 November 2013 horizontal rule

The Daily Beast article

The story of Princess Louise’s illegitimate son has made it to the US media, here’s an article from The Daily Beast.


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29 November 2013 horizontal rule

A new play about Lizzie Siddal

Don’t miss the Arcola Theatre in London’s production of a new play about Lizzie Siddal (written by Jeremy Green and based on my biography), which runs 20th November-21st December. I will be giving a post-show talk about Lizzie on 17th December.

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16 November 2013 horizontal rule

The Mystery of Princess Louise – in the Daily Mail

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The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria’s Rebellious Daughter is being published on Thursday 21 November, you can read all about it in today’s Daily Mail (and order it for a discount price):

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16 November 2013 horizontal rule

John Quintero photography

My author photo was taken by the extremely talented photographer John Quintero. As part of the photo session, we decided to emulate John Everett Millais’ painting Portrait of Mrs Perugini (1874-80). The portrait is of the artist Katey Perugini (née Dickens) as a wedding present for her second husband, Carlo Perugini. Katey is the subject of my second biography. To find out more about John Quintero, take a look at his impressive website:



11 October 2013 horizontal rule

The Mystery of Princess Louise

My latest book, The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria’s Rebellious Daughter is being published by Chatto on 21 November. It is available for pre-order and I am taking bookings for talks and festivals.

You can see more about the book (and pre-order) here:

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Upcoming Festivals

I’m looking forward to speaking at several festivals this month: I’ll be at the Havant Literary Festival (Sunday 6th October), the Wantage [not Just] Betjeman Festival (Thursday 24th October) and the inaugural Harrogate History Festival (26th October).

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2 October 2013 horizontal rule

Amersham Library

I’m looking forward to talking about March, Women, March at Amersham Library at 6.30pm on Saturday 5 October. You can reserve tickets in advance on 0845 230 3232, or if there are any left you can buy one at the door.

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March, Women, March

My new book, March, Women, March is published today by Andre Deutsch:

Apologies for any confusion over Amazon and Waterstones showing the incorrect book (with a different title!) on their websites. If you order from them, you will receive the correct book despite the erroneous image.

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University of Warwick Book Festival

I will be speaking about my new book, March, Women, March, on Saturday 15 June at 12pm. For more information and to book tickets, please go to the University of Warwick’s festival website:

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Unveiling a new Dickens blue plaque

I’m really honoured to have been asked by Ruth Richardson (author of the excellent Dickens and the Workhouse) to unveil a new blue plaque to Charles Dickens. The unveiling will take place on the afternoon of Saturday 8 June, more details below:


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Dickens Museum, Broadstairs

This summer, the Dickens Museum in Broadstairs is celebrating its 40th birthday. I’ll be speaking on the evening of Sunday 16 June; in the afternoon there will also be a garden party at the museum. It’s all part of the Broadstairs Dickens Festival:

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Tickets are now on sale for my event at the Hay Festival at 4pm on Friday 31 May. I will be talking about my new book, March, Women, March: Voices from the Women’s Movement.

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March, Women, March

My new book, March, Women, March: Voices of the Women’s Movement, is coming out on 9 May. I will be speaking at libraries and literary festivals, including the Hay Festival on 31 May.

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Find My Past – Dickens

On 15 January, at 9pm, “Find My Past” on the Yesterday TV channel is about the Staplehurst Rail crash in 1865. My cousin Ollie Dickens and I are on the programme talking about our ancestor, Charles Dickens, who was one of the people caught up in the disaster.

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Great Expectations in the West End

The spectacular theatrical production of “Great Expectations” is finally coming to the West End stage in London, from 1 February 2013 it will be at the Vaudeville Theatre:

You can book tickets online or at the theatre.

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Queen Victoria’s Children

I’m really looking forward to the three-part series “Queen Victoria’s Children”, on BBC 2 at 9pm on 1-3 January 2013. My biography of the sculptor Princess Louise (6th child of Victoria and Albert) is being published by Chatto in November 2013. As a result, I am one of the interviewees for the programme, and can be seen in the first two episodes on 1 and 2 January. One of my favourite comments so far about the programme came from the Radio Times, which described the interviewees as “a sort of firing squad of biographers”. What a superb description!


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France Culture radio interview

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In the summer, I was interviewed for the French radio programme La Fabrique de l’Histoire about the Dickens bicentenary year, you can hear it here. It was aired on Christmas Eve 2012 and will be available to download for a year:

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Spark Inside

Yesterday I met a remarkable women, her name is Baillie Aaron, a Canadian working in London, who is really helping to turn around the lives of young people in need. The project she has set up is called Spark Inside, please take a look:

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6 November 2012 horizontal rule

Chick History – Katey

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You can find out more about Katey, by following this link to hear my interview with Chick History, a project that invites contemporary women to talk about the historic women who have inspired them:

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Dickens on the Strand

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I am very much looking forward to visiting Galveston Island, Texas, again this year, for the Dickens on the Strand festival. It will be even bigger and better this year, to mark Dickens’ bicentenary. If you’re in Texas 30 Nov-2 December, come and say hello.


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Updated biography of Katey

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I recently finished updating my biography of Katey Perugini (née Dickens), the artist daughter of Charles and Catherine Dickens. I am so excited about having had the chance to add in all the new information people sent me after reading my first biography of her and realising they owned works by her. Thank you very much to all those people, it is much appreciated. The book is coming out in July 2013 with Globe Pequot press. Watch this space for more info…

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Art Fund video

Last week I was lucky enough to visit the Tate Britain’s new exhibition. “The Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde”. The result was this video:

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16 September 2012 horizontal rule

The 1857 preface to "Little Dorrit"

Another extract from the Warwick University Dickens project, me reading the 1857 preface to Little Dorrit:

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BBC London News

My very brief appearance on BBC London News talking about the Tate Britain’s new Pre-Raphaelite exhibition:

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Zee News, India

My interview with Zee News (I’m not entirely sure I like being described as “progeny”…):

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Warwick University’s Dickens project

Warwick University has worked on a new Dickens project, here is a video from my interview with them about Dickens as a husband and father (very very bad hair day – this should have been a radio interview!).

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Great Expectations on stage

I was thrilled to find out about a new stage version of Great Expectations (stage play written by the very talented Jo Clifford). The play begins its UK tour on 12 September at Richmond Theatre in Surrey. It will be travelling around the UK visiting theatres in Woking, Malvern, Brighton, Birmingham, Darlington, Southampton, Aylesbury and Aberdeen before starting in the West End in 2013. To find out more visit

I’m really looking forward to working with the company, and will be giving talks before some of the performances.

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I had an amazing time at the Hay-on-Wye book festival. What a wonderful insitution it has become. Thanks to everyone who helped make my event such a success, I really do appreciate it.

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Steve Wright on Radio 2

Thanks very much to Steve Wright for mentioning my Charles Dickens book event at Hay-on-Wye lit fest on his Radio 2 afternoon show. You can listen again here (I get a name check about 12 minutes in):

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Bourgeois Boheme, SAF and Dickens

On 15 May, I shall be giving a talk at SAF restaurant, upstairs at Wholefoods on High Street Kensington (London). The evening starts at 6.45pm. I’ll be talking about Charles Dickens and SAF will be serving delicious food. For more information or to buy tickets, email Francesca on: francesca@bboheme I hope to see you there.

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Shepherd’s Bush Library

I shall be talking about 200 Years of Charles Dickens at Shepherd’s Bush Library, London W12 on Saturday (28th April) at 3pm. A few people have told me they don’t know where the library is. It is on Wood Lane next to Westfield shopping centre (if you go to the old Shepherd’s Bush library you will encounter the new Bush Theatre, pop in and say hello and have a drink in their cafe, it’s great).

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Two superb audiences

A big thank you to everyone who came along to my World Book Night talk at High Wycombe Library on Monday (and to the lovely woman who gave me a WBN free book) and to those of you who came along to Richmond Library last night (and to the very kind man who brought me a present of his own book). You were two wonderful audiences who made my final week of writing my book on Princess Louise a lot less stressful.

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Bookmark, Spalding

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p>If you’re a fan of proper bookshops, then one of the shops you should know about is Bookmark in Spalding, Lincolnshire. I gave a talk there last night and was so impressed by how huge, comprehensive and welcoming the shop is. There’s a lovely cafe too, so it’s worth making a special trip to visit it.

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Closure of the Charles Dickens museum

As you may be aware, the controversial decision has been made to close the Charles Dickens Museum in London for most of the Dickens bicentenary year. I have received many queries about this and I would like to clarify that I took no part at all in this ludicrous decision, nor was I told about it until very recently. I have tried to persuade the director and trustees to re-arrange the renovations work for 2013 instead, but it has fallen on deaf ears.

I have not been given a truthful reason for the closure, despite having asked for one several times. I was told that the museum was being “forced” to close by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), I was told the HLF funds would run out at the end of 2012, so there was no chance to delay the building work. Unfortunately, I have since found out that this is completely untrue. The HLF, who have generously agreed to give the museum two very large grants and a loan,  told me that they have never insisted on the closure this year. They also said that they suggested to the museum that 2013 would be a far preferable year in which to close. This has been ignored by the museum and I have not been given any genuine explanation for why the decision to close in 2012 was made. The HLF stated to me uncategorically: “The decision to close in the bicentenary year came from the museum itself, not from us”.

The museum will be closed from 10 April until 1 December (if the building work goes to plan of course. Let’s hope they have booked reliable builders, encounter no structural problems and that we don’t have a wet summer!). I am so very sorry for any Dickens fans who have specially planned to visit London in his bicentenary year. Unfortunately, the museum will be closed all through the Olympics and the International Dickens Fellowship Conference.

I have had several emails from people very upset about the closure as they have donated money to the museum’s renovations fund and now won’t be able to visit the museum during their trip to England in 2012. To those people, I can only apologise and say that I have tried to get the museum’s management to listen to people’s concerns and to postpone the renovations. They refuse to respond. I can do nothing about the donations, sadly, but please feel free to take up your grievance with the museum. Thank you.

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11 March 2012 horizontal rule

Today programme

I was invited onto the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 to talk about the impending closure of the Charles Dickens Museum, in the year of his bicentenary. You can listen to it here:

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20 January 2012 horizontal rule

BBC World Service, India

Today I was interviewed by the BBC World Service for a special programme on Dickens and India; it will be broadcast in time for his bicentenary. Depending on which region you live in, it will go live on either 6th or 7th Feb.

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10 January 2012 horizontal rule

Open University podcasts

If you’re studying Dickens with the Open University, new podcasts are soon going to be available to you. I really enjoyed meeting the lovely Eve yesterday, who has been interviewing several Dickens experts and will be getting the podcasts of our interviews ready to download in the next few months.

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BBC South East

I was interviewed this week by Robin Gibson from BBC South East. We had a great time in Rochester talking about Charles Dickens. It will be shown on TV during the week of 7th February (the date of Dickens’ 200th birthday).

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Lizzie Siddal at Highgate Cemetery

Tickets are now on sale for my events at Highgate Cemetery, I’m talking about Lizzie Siddal on 11 February. Booking has to be done in advance by email only:

The same email address can be used to book tickets for my talk on the Dickens family at Highgate on 13 February.

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Radio 4's Paul Lewis reviews my new book

I was thrilled to receive the Wilkie Collins Society newsletter which contains a glowing review of my book by none other than BBC Radio 4’s Paul Lewis (of Money Box fame). He describes it as “the most unusual of the bicentenary offerings … a brilliant collection of pictures, play programmes, letters and manuscripts reproduced with great care … bite-sized chapters take you through the events of Dickens’s life in a straightforward and engaging manner written with great style by his great-great-great-granddaughter…. At £30 it is amazing value and worth the price…. Warning – it is a bit big to read on the train!”

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2 January 2012 horizontal rule

Dickens and Childhood Conference

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p>I shall be one of the guest speakers at the V&A Museum of Childhood’s conference on 18th June 2012, for more information about the day, follow the link:

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2012 is here at last

The Dickens Bicentenary year has begun at last – many years of preparation have gone into organising the celebration and the Dickens 2012 website provides information about events all over the world.

To find out about talks I’ll be giving to commemorate 200 years since Charles Dickens’ birth, click on my Speaking Engagements page.

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Highgate Cemetery

In February, I shall be marking two very important occasions at Highgate Cemetery, both talks are to raise funds for the cemetery’s upkeep, so please do come along and support them.

On 11 February, it will be exactly 150 years since the death of Lizzie Siddal, who is buried at Highgate, so come along to a talk that evening on the life and death of the original supermodel.

On 13 February, I shall be giving a talk about the Dickens family’s connection to Highgate. Catherine Dickens, wife of the novelist, and their infant daughter Dora are both buried in the cemetery, as are several other Dickens family members. Come along and discover a different side to the Dickens bicentenary year.

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2 January 2012 horizontal rule

The Penny Readings at The British Library

custom writingp>On Sunday 22 January, the British Library in London will be revisiting the historic idea of Penny Readings, where you really can buy tickets for just 1p. I’ll be one of the readers, alongside Anna Maxwell Martin, A S Byatt, Arthur Smith, Louis de Bernieres, Patricia Hammond, Romany and Tweedy the Clown.

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Mrs Dickens’ Family Christmas

I really enjoyed taking part in the BBC programme Mrs Dickens’ Family Christmas, not least because Sue Perkins is even funnier in real life than she is on TV. It’s available to watch on BBC iPlayer for another few days:

(Rumour has it that the documentary has also been uploaded to You Tube.)

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Lizzie Siddal's anniversary

11 February 2012 will be the 150th anniversary of Lizzie Siddal’s death. I am talking to Highgate Cemetery about marking the occasion and will update my website when I have some news to share.

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1 November 2011 horizontal rule

Upcoming speaking events

November and December are going to be very busy months for book events, both in the UK and overseas. You can find out more on my Speaking Engagements page, but as a taster, I shall be talking about my new book. Charles Dickens (published by Andre Deutsch) in London, Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Bristol, Texas, Chicago and New York between now and Christmas.

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Sunday Times 30 Oct 2011

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p>A lovely piece about my book appeared in The Sunday Times’ Culture section. Richard Brooks wrote: “[it] contains fascinating documents and memorabilia, copies of which can be removed from specially designed ‘envelopes’ inside the book. These really bring alive Dickens’ life, and include his handwritten Coutts bank account; previously unseen photos from his daughter Katey’s photo album; and his reading copy, with annotated notes, of Oliver Twist.”

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200 Years of Charles Dickens

My visit to the Morley Literature Festival marked the beginning of the publicity for Charles Dickens, published by Andre Deutsch. I have a number of talks coming up over the next year, at libraries, bookshops and literary festivals, so if you’re looking for an event near you, please check my speaking engagements page for updates.

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Brantwood: (Now That Would Be) Telling

p>In August, John Ruskin’s home in Brantwood opened an exhibition of works by artist Hayley Lock, accompanied by text written by me. Hayley and I had great fun working on (Now That Would Be) Telling, which was a project melding fact and fiction. The exhibition is now closed, but my text can still be read online:

(Now That Would Be) Telling, curated by Catherine Hemelryk, is travelling around the country, with Hayley producing five different collections of works, at five fascinating venues, with five writers (who are equally fascinating!). On 1 October, the London exhibition opened at Dr Johnson’s House, with text by the very talented Hallie Rubenhold.

You can find out more about Hayley’s work on her website:

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Leeds Book Club podcast

I’m “Twitter-friends” with Leeds Book Club and was asked to give an author interview about the book they had most recently read, my Lizzie Siddal, The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel. The interview – in which I do get slight verbal diarrhoea at one point – is now available as a podcast. There’s a little bit of skype-induced white noise in the middle, but it doesn’t last very long. You can listen to it here: 

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The Sunday Times article…

Many people will have seen the article about my new book, Charles Dickens, in The Sunday Times on 2 October. It was great publicity, but rather inaccurate. Not least because, in the interview, I stated at least twice that Catherine Dickens was NOT an alcoholic. I explained that the ridiculous rumours of her alleged “drink problem” were started by supporters of Dickens who were trying to justify his decision to separate from her.

The article also implies that I believe Dickens slept with one or both of his sisters-in-law, in fact I said the opposite, that, yes, there have been rumours, but I don’t believe them. Another inaccuracy to correct is that the wrong publisher was credited; the real publisher of my book is Andre Deutsch (part of Carlton Books). Having said which, the article is great publicity, but anyone buying the book and thinking it’s going to be a sex-scandal-filled exposé is going to be rather disappointed. It’s a great book though!

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© Lucinda Hawksley 2021. Last updated 10 January 2021.