My recent transatlantic voyage

My recent transatlantic voyage

I may be an author of eleven books but actually I like talking about them almost more than writing them. Not just because it means I travel to interesting places to give my talks but mostly because I like meeting my readers, hearing what intrigues them about my books, telling the story in a different way.

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“Writing a book is such a lonely business – these occasions are the sunshine in a writer’s life”

One of my favourite moments in the publishing cycle is when you’re asked to talk about your book as part of a fundraising event. Using your research to raise money for worthwhile charities like The Victoria Foundation is not only a (selfishly) feel good moment but it’s great to be surrounded by people again after years of research and writing which are lonely even without a pandemic. This was a terrific local event (amazing food and company) and I’m already looking forward to one or two others in the run up to Christmas. Do ask me … I’m available now before I start another book!

Photos taken below by the talented Vicki Sharp.

The Victoria Foundation charity event Read More

Ethel Rosenberg – Weekend FT Life and Arts Review

Ethel Rosenberg - Weekend FT Life and Arts Review

In April 1951, in what FBI Director J Edgar Hoover called “the trial of the century”, Ethel Rosenberg and her husband Julius were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage and sentenced to death by electrocution. Ethel was 35 years old and the mother of two little boys, aged eight and four. To this day, she is the only American woman ever executed for a crime other than murder. At the time, 70 per cent of the American public supported this double death sentence, but the case also sparked international outcry, not to mention increasingly frantic legal appeals. Read More

Ethel Rosenberg Reviews

Read Rebecca Abrams’s review in the Weekend FT Life and Arts (21-22 August 2021)


Read Rachel Cooke’s review of Ethel Rosenberg in The Observer (27 June 2021)


On June 19, 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed by electrocution for their part in a conspiracy to provide to the Soviet Union top secret information on the development of nuclear weapons. Their co-conspirators received long prison sentences, but the Rosenbergs became the first American civilians to be sentenced to death in peacetime. Read More

Secrets and spies

Secrets and spies

“IT WAS A QUEER, SULTRY SUMMER, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs … ” So goes the opening sentence of Sylvia Plath’s 1963 novel The Bell Jar, referring to the Jewish American couple, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage and sent to the electric chair exactly 68 years ago today. Their execution casts a morbid shadow over Plath’s book, just as it did over the United States, and it is seen by many as the nadir of America’s engagement with the cold war. The Rosenbergs are still the only Americans ever put to death in peacetime for espionage, and Ethel is the only American woman killed by the US government for a crime other than murder.

Read the full feature here