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Exploring the Power of Women

Long ago, I made deliberate choice to foreground women’s stories from the past and, by doing so, I hope, celebrating the power of women in history and literature. Through extensively researched and creatively fleshed out historical storytelling, I try and bring to life diverse women in different historical settings from England in the 1300s and […]

Author, Playwright, Lover, Spy and figure of hate: Who was Aphra Behn?

In 1929, Virginia Woolf wrote that “All women together ought to let flowers fall on the tomb of Aphra Behn… For it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.” If that’s the case, why have so many people never heard of Aphra Behn? The answer is diabolical: for while Aphra lived, […]

“Sin in a bowl”: The history of the chocolate drink

So much of our history is not only recorded by men, but features them almost exclusively. This is especially true when it comes to trade. Women have always been integral to business and commerce, yet we know so little about the roles they played in various industries, whether candle-making, brewing, baking, wool, etc. They provided ideas, support, labour and, in times of war and sickness, stability. Yet their […]

Book Review: Heresy by SJ Parris

This was a strange book in so many ways – and I mean that more positively than to infer the opposite – strange can be good, right? Ostensibly a historical novel that, while a work of fiction features real people – the main one being the lead character, the excommunicate Roman priest and humanist philosopher, […]

Book Review: A Necessary End, Peter Robinson

A Necessary End is no. 3 in the Inspector Banks series and as far as the others go (I am reading them out of order which is not a problem), it lacks the tight pacing of both the two previous books and later ones. Commencing with an anti-nuclear demonstration in which a policeman is killed, […]

Illumination news

I’ve decided I’m not very good at putting up info about my books. I must get better at it. I also have to update my website – and I will. After Illumination comes out. See, that’s my problem. At the moment, my year is divided into two halves: BI and AI – Before Illumination and […]

Book Review: Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens

Recuperating from pretty awful surgery has given me the chance to indulge in my absolute favourite past-time: reading. I read a great deal anyhow, particularly when researching my novels and for my newspaper columns, but for sheer joy doesn’t happen often enough. One of the upsides of being unwell is that it’s given me an […]

Shop till we stop: Online versus bricks and mortar shopping

This is my column that appeared in the Courier Mail, Wednesday 10th August 2011.   According to media and other reports, consumers’ shopping preferences are slowly shifting from bricks and mortar to online retailers. As Johnny Lee noted in last Wednesday’s Courier Mail, businesses are bemoaning the loss of custom and are quick to blame the […]

Defence Force Behaviour and Reviews

A new inquiry into the treatment of women in the forces was announced by the Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and the Head of the Defence Forces, Angus Houston on Monday 11 April 2011. Headed by Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, it’s believed that unlike previous reviews, this one will be ‘an important step in […]

Book Review: The Transit of Venus

This is one of the most exquisitely rendered novels, where not a word is out of place; where you find yourself savouring sentences, clauses and repeating them over and over admiring the craftsmanship and originality. It’s also a tale that lingers long after you’ve finished it. The Transit of Venus tells the story of Grace […]

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