The publication of Georgian London in paperback approaches (first week of July) so it’s all mad here. I’ve been neglecting the blog, which is reprehensible. But busy times. So this is ten months in a pint pot, if you care to join me.
Mr I’s father died at home with us after an eight year battle with cancer, just before GL was published in September. I found a proof of the book tumbled down by his bed when he had gone beyond talking, corners of pages folded down. This was, we both believed, Against Book Law. I still wish I knew what he wanted to talk about.
Anyway, there was loads to sort out and in November, we had The Best memorial service for him, held in St James Garlickhythe where Mr I and I were married, and where his father had designed the service and the music. People came from across the country, and damn them, the world. It was great. Here’s him and me in happier times, only eighteen months ago in Holland – I have my eyes closed, obviously.
But there was loads to do on the book front. GL publicity has been insane, and everyone at Penguin deserves a medal (Lija, Eleo and Jillian) for keeping the show on the road. And my book is only a jittery fledgling in a splendid brood. So many people, since last September and since the launch of the blog in 2009, have been so fundamentally kind and supportive. I have thanked a lot of you, but if I haven’t, thank you. And yes, it really was Viking’s first book to be reviewed in the Sunday Sport.
GL was shortlisted for the Longman-History Today Book of the Year prize. And now this is the paperback cover, filled with all the lovely things people have said about it.
Since the publication of GL, we’ve come into the 300th year since George I came to the throne. Talk about timing. I can barely move for work but I’m loving it, obviously (that’s the iPlayer link for last night’s BBC documentary). I’m meeting so many incredible people and sometimes the phone rings and I don’t actually believe who’s on the other end. Oh yes, and I went to a dinner where I had to make a speech and introduce Jeremy Paxman and he said he didn’t know how to follow that and then I stole his place card when I thought he wasn’t looking and he was. Because, dignity.
This image © Chris Floyd
I’ve helped with the British Library’s great Georgians Revealed, and plotted one of their most downloaded downloads ever. I’ve spoken at the V&A, the NPG, the National Archives. I spoke to Rod Liddle at the British Museum about the Elgin Marbles and George Clooney (you try doing that, I dare you).
I’ve been to America to lecture about Jan Van Rymsdyk and his unparalleled legacy to modern obstetrics. Cleveland has not only an astonishing medical museum but also food to die for. Tripadvisor summary: don’t combine the two within one hour, let your stomach settle.
Currently designing walks and literature and anniversary badness for the Foundling Museum’s tenth birthday celebrations. Identity, childhood, poverty and GIN. At the same time I’m preparing material on Georgian poverty data for a BBC Radio 4 documentary recording next week.
And then, in a couple of months, my YA novel is out. City of Halves. It’s about a teenage girl who hacks computers and rails against corrupt politicians. Then she ends up in the City of London with ALL of its folklore. Bad things happen.
In other news it looks like you’ll be seeing a whole lot more of me in print, if you can bear it. Books and magazines and sometimes one of those there newspapers. Last week I finished the first draft of a new YA – about a series of strange events in Montana in 1866, and how history sometimes really does repeat itself.
And this week, I committed to serve as technical advisor for a motion picture about a young woman making her way in eighteenth century London. Yes, I did. I can’t talk about it yet. Except the little bit I just did. Just a little bit.
Still married to the finest co-pilot a person could wish for (five years a fortnight ago).
Still want to call my dad and tell him all about this (ten years ago next month).
Still have the most crackpot family of women you could wish for outside of a terrible C5 documentary. (Yes that’s a PB 10k without breaking a sweat – how are we even related?)
Still a chronic insomniac (thank you to ALL of the people of the blessed internet who save me from myself at 0332, but particularly you, the Charleston SC set, you terrible, glorious deviants).
Still turning up to smart meetings five minutes late with my hands covered in black biro and headphone wires hanging out of my crappy army surplus satchel that I bought for £2.50 in Fort William eight years ago because Bridie the terrier was only fifteen weeks old and too tired to walk any more. And because I’m always, always trying to shove twenty eight hours into twenty four.
And still writing. Because I can’t not.
- Longman-History Today Book of the Year
- On Elliot Rodger: ‘Nothing’s that simple, not even things that are simply awful.’