Katharine has written non-fiction, short stories and books for children. The Low Road is her first novel. Her non-fiction works include Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People and No Place to Call Home: Inside The Real Lives Of Gypsies And Travellers. Katharine also works as an investigative journalist and editor, with particular interests in disability, the environment, race and ethnicity and the care system.
The Low Road is set in rural England, London and Australia in the early nineteenth century. It is based on a true story Katharine found whilst visiting her parents in the Waveney Valley of a Norfolk woman, Mary Tyrell, who was staked through the heart after death in 1813. She had been questioned repeatedly about a suspected infanticide. Katharine traced her surviving daughter to a Refuge in London, where she forged a friendship which deepened into love with another young woman. Both were then transported separately to Australia and the novel is based on their story.
This novel is about uncovering lost histories: the stories of poor women from rural areas, the stories of the imprisoned, the stories of convicts sent to penal colonies, the stories of people who often left no records as a result of illiteracy and hardship. It also contains an important strand of narrative that explores experiences left out of the history books – in this case a same sex romance.
Join Katharine and Lucinda Hawksley on the Goldster Inside Story on 21 July.