Talks and Workshops

10646954_973289079363431_9004368174239853210_n                              Panelist at Urban Plunge, Roca Gallery

I give talks and run workshops at a variety of places – primary and secondary schools, museums, festivals (such as Edinburgh International Book Festival, Words by the Water, Henley Literary Festival, Totally Thames, the Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival, Stoke Newington Literary Festival, Richmond Literary Festival, Margate Bookie & many others), libraries, book groups, writing groups, the Women’s Institute, history societies, pubs, retirement homes, charities.

I’m happy to tailor-make a talk, preferably in the London area. Please use the contact page if you’d like to get in touch.


* The writing life – as a novelist, narrative non-fiction writer and journalist – how to become a writer and how to get published

* Memoir writing

* Writing ghost stories

* Using historical sources to inspire fiction and create characters

* The true story of Edwardian baby farmers Amelia Sach and Annie Walters

* The history of outdoor bathing and the birth of the Hampstead Bathing Ponds

* The history of Thames swimming and forgotten women champions from Victorian times to the 1960s

* William Henry and the formation of the Royal Life Saving Society

* Agnes Beckwith, champion Victorian swimmer, and her trailblazing contemporaries

* The history of Holloway Prison – 1852-2016. Including the suffragettes, Edith Thompson, ‘enemy aliens’, pacifists, spies, Ruth Ellis, the women of Greenham Common

* The history of Camden Lock & the Market, and the birth of the Regent’s Canal

* GI fathers and the children they left behind in England in WW2

* Dido Elizabeth Belle, Britain’s ‘first black aristocrat’

I have a PGCE teacher’s qualification (University of Sussex) and have taught in a wide variety of institutions including: The University of Davis (California, USA, Teacher’s Assistant Introduction to Women’s Studies and Introduction to Literature), Clark University (Massachusetts, USA, Writing Instructor Expository Writing), College Gate (Mass, USA, Summer School), Stanley Deason High School (Brighton, England), Holloway Prison (London, England, English Instructor), Elizabeth Johnson Organisation (Brighton, England, English as a Foreign Language), Tshwaragano Community Junior Secondary School (Maun, Botswana).

I also work as a mentor, helping people who are struggling to write a book – including a war reporter in Afghanistan and a former Olympic champion from the 1940s. I was a judge for the 2015 Denia Writers Circle (Costa Blanca, Spain) short story contest, and the City of London short story competition (Ponds Project Writing Competition for Young People) in  2016.

I am a former Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Westminster, Harrow campus, in the Faculty of Media, Arts and Design (2014-17) and worked for several years with Speakers for Schools. I’m a member of the Society of Authors and the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE).

UPCOMING TALKS/ Readings/Events:

Political Prisoners at Holloway Prison, March 10th, POW! Festival, Turner Contemporary, Margate, CT9 1HG, 10.30am

The Hollowayettes: the story of the Suffragettes at Holloway Prison, March 24th, Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge, London SE1 9DA, 11.15am-12.15

The Suffragettes in Holloway Prison, March 24th, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN, 2-5pm, a panel discussion on The Suffragette Legacy

The Bad Girls of Holloway Prison, Broadstairs Literary Festival, April 6th, Yarrow Hotel, Ramsgate Road, Broadstairs, CT10 1PN, 7.30pm

The Hollowayettes: the Suffragettes at Holloway Prison, April 17th, Haunt London, the Bell pub, 50 Middlesex St, London E1 7EX, 7.30pm

The Bad Girls of Holloway Prison, Hexham Book Festival, May 5th/6th, TBC, Queen’s Hall Arts Centre Beaumont Street, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 3LS

The Hollowayettes: the story of the Suffragettes at Holloway Prison, Lichfield Festival, Staffordshire, July 8th, midday, TBC

The Bad Girls of Holloway Prison, Borderlines Books Festival, Carlisle, October 5-7, TBC


Recent talks:

The Finchley Baby Farmers, November 30th,  The Finchley Society, Jean Scott Memorial Lecture, Stephens (Avenue) House, East End Road, London, N3 3QE, 8pm

Memories of Margaret, Borderlines Book Festival, October 6th, 2017, 8pm, Carlisle CA3 8HZ

Book Reading & Signing with Miranda Gold, September 23rd, 3-5pm, Hornsey Library, Haringey Park, London N8 9JA

Totally Thames Festival, September 15th, 7pm, 2017, Waterman’s Art Centre, 40 High St, Brentford TW8 0DS

Daisy Belle: Champion Swimmer of the WorldMargate Bookie, August 18th, 12.30-1.30, Turner Contemporary, Margate CT9 1HG

‘The Writer’s Life’, April 20th, 10.45 am, Warwickshire Women’s Institute annual meeting, Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth, Warwick CV8 2LD

‘Women swimming the Thames: forgotten champions’, March 16th, 6pm, University of Hertfordshire, De Havilland Campus, Mosquito Way, Hatfield AL10 9EU

Talks/workshops 2016:

William Henry and the birth of the Highgate Men’s Pond, November 23rd, 11am, , RLSS Commonwealth, Conference Room, Hampstead Heath, NW5

William Henry and the formation of the Royal Life Saving Society, October 8th, 3pm, , RLSS Award Ceremony, Guildhall, London, EC2

June 7th, 6.30pm, illustrated talk on Thames Swimming old and new at the London Society, The City Centre, 80 Basinghall Street, London EC2V

June 2nd, 6.30pm, Wandsworth Heritage Festival, Putney Library, 5/7 Disraeli Road London, SW15 2DR

May 28th, 12.00 noon, Greenwich Literary Festival, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London
SE10 9LS

February 18th, an illustrated talk on William Henry as part of the Royal Life Saving Society’s 125th anniversary, Education Centre, Hampstead Heath, London NW5

February 26th, 2016, International Sports and Leisure History Colloquium Manchester Metropolitan University

Talks/workshops 2015:

April 15th: A talk on Thames swimming at Richmond, as part of Rivers of London Cityread Festival, Hampton Library, TW12 2AB, 7.30pm

April 16th: opening talk at the Footprints River Walks Festival, 7pm, The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping Wall, E1W 3SH

April 21st: A talk at Chiswick Pier Trust, London W4 2UG, 7.30pm

April 24th: Talks, book launch and music at the University of Essex, The Forum, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1NE, 6pm-8.30pm

May 6th: reading and panel discussion on urban swimming at The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB, 6.30-8pm

June 6th: talk at Stoke Newington Literary Festival, 2-3pm, ‘London Lost & Found’ with Travis Elborough and Tom Bolton, The Prince Pub, 59 Kynaston Road, London N16 0EB

June 26th: talk and reading at Wandsworth Historical Society, 8pm, Wandsworth High Street, London SW18

July 12th: Open Water Swimming Show, Remenham Farm, near Henley on Thames

July 27th: illustrated talk at Brockwell Lido, 7-8pm, Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, London SE24 0PA

September 7-27th: Thames Swimmers Display, 10am – 6pm, Show Space, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN, as part of the Totally Thames festival

September 19th: Forgotten Thames Champions, illustrated talk on women swimmers from yesteryear,  2.30pm – 3.30pm, Clore Learning Centre, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN, as part of the Totally Thames festival

October 3rd: Henley Literary Festival, 1pm, onboard the Hibernia, Henley on Thames

October 10th: Archway with Words Festival, 3pm, with Jenny Landreth

November 15th: 2-3pm, Richmond Literary Festival, Richmond Old Town Hall


January 30th: writing workshop at Friern Barnet Secondary School, north London, part of the Speakers for Schools programme

September 20th, ‘Swimming the Thames: Then & Now’ Thames Festival 1pm – 2.15pm HMS President, Victoria Embankment, London EC4Y 0HJ

September 15th, Urban Plunge at the Roca London Gallery, 6.30pm, Townmead Road, London SW6 2PY. Panelist on a discussion of Thames swimming.

July 22nd, 7pm, ‘The History of Camden Lock’, reading and book signing, at the Spread Eagle Pub, Camden Town, with David Fathers, author of The Regent’s Canal: An Urban Towpath Route from Little Venice to the Olympic Park

July 5th, Highgate Library mini-festival, 12-4pm, ‘Dido Elizabeth Belle and the background to Family Likeness.’

June 21st, ‘Why we love and fear the Thames’, Somerset House, 2-2.45pm –  Museum of Water

May 31st, Finchley Literary Festival Baby farming and the background to the Ghost of Lily Painter‘, and panelist ‘When a Man Writes a Woman and When a Woman Writes a Man’

April 28th, 2014, 7.45pm ‘GI ‘war babies”, Stanford-le-Hope Ladies’ Club, Essex

April 16th, 1-3pm, using props to inspire fiction, Word for Word Writing Group, Hornsey Library


December 11th, 2013, Creating Characters in historical fiction, Christ’s College, Finchley, Speakers for Schools

November 22nd, 8pm  The Highgate Society

November 12th, 7pm, Writing about the Heath, West End Lane Books

November 6th, 1-3pm,  Using Artefacts to Inspire Fiction, Word for Word Writing Group, Hornsey Library

September 25th, 6.30pm, ArchWay With Words Literary Festival

September 21st, 12pm, with Joanna Briscoe, at the ArchWay With Words Literary Festival

September 17th, 12.30pm, in conversation with Wendy Wallace, at the Ham & High Literary Festival

September 5th, eiClub London, Breakfast Subject Salon: Autumn Books – Looking Ahead to the Frankfurt Book Fair, at the Swedish Ambassador’s Residence

July 16th, ‘Writing about the Heath’, at the Owl Bookshop, Kentish Town, with Michele Hanson and Wendy Wallace

July 10th, ‘Writing about the Heath’, an Islington Libraries Event

May 22nd, Creating Characters – how to make the people in your stories come alive, Word for Word Writing Group, Hornsey Library

March 13th, Discovering the History of Your School: whole school assembly and Year 5 workshop to introduce the School Centenary Project, Brookfield Primary School, Camden

The school wanted to investigate its history but has very few archives of its own, so I started off at the London Metropolitan Archives. It has some great old photos, like this one from 1929 in which the children have their daily dose of cod liver oil and malt.


February 25th, Using historical sources to inspire fiction at Queen’s Wood Café writing group, 7-9pm, Queen’s Wood Lodge, 42 Muswell Hill Road, London N10 3JP. We looked at a variety of sources that can be used as a starting point for fiction, such as Old Bailey trials.

February 13th, Creative Writing Workshop, Highgate Wood Secondary School. The students used a 1902 newspaper report to inspire their own stories.

January 28th, Baby farmers and the background to the Ghost of Lily Painter, West Hampstead Community Centre, 7.30-9.30pm, 17 Dornfell Street, London NW6 IQN, with Ian Long, Sophie Radice and Melissa Harman


November: Turning history into fiction, Longdean School, Hertfordshire, as a member of the UK Speakers for Schools programme.

Baby Farming, an Edwardian crime, Women’s Institute, Avenue House, Finchley, London.

October: The Hampstead Heath Ponds, Highgate Library

Writing Ghost Stories, Word for Word Writing Group, Hornsey Library



As a trained teacher with a PGCE in English, I also run longer school-based projects, such as:

History Detectives, a half-term workshop at Islington Arts & Media School as a TEXT project writer, funded by the Cripplegate Foundation, 2010

School History Project, St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, Islington, a ten-week programme on the 300-year history of the school, as a TEXT project writer, 2011

Evaluation from Year 4 pupils:

“A history of St Mary’s school has been the most enjoyable thing in my whole life because I never even knew about it. I would like to do more of this, more, more, more!” Chelsea.

“I learnt all about the facts throughout our school and life in the old times, I wouldn’t have survived then, life is easier now,” Matthew.

“The best part for me was when my topic group researched for our assembly and we used all the old clothes and props,” Emmanuella.

“I enjoyed writing poems and riddles and dressing up as a Victorian child,” Amber.

“I used to hate literacy, now I like it!” Charlotte.

Year 4 teacher Ms Khan: “The children loved the project because it’s all about children at school so they can relate to it. There was a wide range of activities and they produced lots of wonderful writing.”


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