Writers With Entries: January 2016 Update


  • Mary Mollineux, c. 1651 – 1696: A north-country Quaker who directed her poetry to literary as well as religious ends.
  • Alison Cockburn, 1713 – 1794: She has the place in the story of the Scottish ballad revival and wrote other occasional poems, letters, and memoirs.
  • Ann Thicknesse, 1737 – 1824: wife of a writer notorious for quarrels and shady dealing. Her first and last books (a letter to the peer who wanted her as his mistress, and a retrospective novel) deal with a scandal of her early life. She also published music manuals and a biographical dictionary of French women writers.
  • Elizabeth, Margravine of Anspach, 1750-1828: aristocratic poet, amateur dramatist who set up private theatres in Newbury, London, and Ansbach (Bavaria), European travel writer, autobiographer, and subject of scandal.
  • Barbarina Brand, Baroness Dacre, 1768 – 1854: another poet, amateur dramatist (more tragedy than comedy), writer of literary and domestic letters, and editor of novels by her daughter.
  • Catherine Marsh, 1818-1912: writer of Evangelical and religious uplift designed to save the souls of working men and especially soldiers of the British Empire, also of a biography of her clergyman father and works on the royal family.
  • Sarah Macnaughtan, 1864 – 1916: novelist with an interesting approach to gender issues; now remembered, if at all, for her harrowing account, based on her diary, of nursing in the first world war.
  • Olive Senior, born 1941: poet, fiction-writer, and children’s writer of the Jamaican diaspora.
  • Anne Carsan, born 1950: Canadian scholar, poet, and fiction-writer, whose writings make a point of straddling several genres: prose-poems and novels in verse. She loves to recast classical myth, and her translations of Greek tragedy have been acclaimed on stage in London and the USA.
  • Candia McWilliam, born 1955: novelist, short-story writer, and author of remarkable accounts of her struggles with alcoholism and with the condition of blepharospasm, which produces blindness.

Entries Enhanced

Again a wealth of new titles: Alive, Alive Oh! by Diana Athill; The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood; Noonday by Pat Barker; The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien; a treasure-trove of letters by Iris Murdoch; Under the Rose by Julia O’Faolain (electronic edition only as yet); the posthumous Dark Corners by Ruth Rendell; Career of Evil by J.K. Rowling (not to mention Philip W. Errington’s Rowling biography); Jefferson’s Garden by Timberlake Wertenbaker; The Gap of Time. The Winter’s Take Retold by Jeanette Winterson — besides collected volumes of T.S. Eliot‘s poems and Stevie Smith‘s poems and drawings, and a selected volume of Shena Mackay‘s stories.
  • Joanna Baillie, Charlotte BrontĂ«, Elizabeth Barret Browning, Catherine Fanshawe, Catherine Gore, Fanny Kemble, and Mary Tighe have all had their entires enhanced as a result of work for the new entry on Barbarina Brand, Lady Dacre. Networking, long may it flourish.
  • Caroline Bowles: the discovery of “Mrs. Southey’s Narrative” about her courtship and marriage has been noted, among Anna Eliza Bray‘s papers at West Sussex Records Office.
  • Anna Eliza Bray: new material from the research of Holly Wright, who catalogued Bray’s archive at West Sussex Record Office; something on Mary Maria Colling too.
  • A revival of Caryl Churchill‘s play about popular resistance, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, was timed to coincide with the British general election.
  • Gillian Clarke contributed to the Observer‘s pre-election survey “Britain Uncovered”.
  • Amelia Bristow, Mary Bryan, Ann Gomersall, and Eleanor Sleath: new information has come from Andrew Ashfield too late for this update, but see the next!
  • On Ada Byron Day 2015 (13 October) an exhibition about her opened at the Science Museum, South Kensington, London.
  • Nancy Cunard: the sale of letters to her from her black lover, Henry Crowder.
  • Mary Delany: Orlando has now taken note of the speculative but intriguing possibility put forward by Karen O’Brien and others that she may have been the unidentified “Sophia” who in 1739-40 published Woman not Inferior to Man and Woman’s Superior Excellence over Man.
  • Maria Edgeworth: not only the publication by the Juvenilia Press of her early play The Double Disguise, but its first performance (since the Edgeworth family acted it at Christmas 1786), given by students at the University of New South Wales.
  • Phebe Gibbes: thanks to research by David Hopkinson, she now has a life-story: marriage, husband, bankrupt father-in-law, a son who died young in India, and a daughter who came to condemn, on religious grouds, all literature except the devotional.
  • Two more novels by Eliza Haywood share a scholarly edition by Tiffany Potter: The Masqueraders, or Fatal Curiosity and The Surprize, or Constancy Rewarded.
  • The recently released film of Patricia Highsmith‘s lesbian novel Carol (originally published as The Price of Salt) has been reaped full houses and gratifying reviews on both sides of the Atlantic; The Blunderer has been re-issued in Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s and 1950s.
  • Peter Ackroyd’s new novel features Mary Lamb, who in this fiction falls in love with the Shakespeare forger William Henry Ireland.
  • The news emerged of MI5’s twenty years of spying on Doris Lessing, “an attractive, forceful, dangerous, woman, ruthless if need be.” Jenny Diski’s series of memoir-essays, too, have continued to add new material to the Lessing entry.
  • Ethel Smyth: the production of her opera The Wreckers at Annandale-on-Hudson in summer 2015 and additional information about her Three Songs,1913.
  • Astronomer Jane Squire has been given an entry in the ODNB which provides lots of new information. She was a Yorkshirewoman who invested in maritime ventures (and energetically protected her interests in court) in other contexts besides her longitude scheme.
  • Sarah Waters: a stage adaption of Tipping the Velvet opened in London, adapted by Kate Wade.
  • Free-standing events

    New material covers such disparate topics as publications by sixteenth-century European women, the history of the Nazi concentration camps, the lifespan of additional nineteenth-century periodicals, and the severest London fogs of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.