Signing at Rutherford's, Morpeth of No Greater Love (with 'grumpy man' anti-suffragist behind!) Photo by Jan Rowley

Signing at Rutherford’s, Morpeth of No Greater Love (with ‘grumpy man’ anti-suffragist behind!) Photo by Jan Rowley

Imagine being a suffragette? Then write your feelings and win a national writing competition! Take a look at this Emily Inspires competition:

Just one of the exciting events in the 2013 centenary celebrations of suffragette heroine, Emily Wilding Davison.

My own novel, No Greater Love, was inspired by Northumbrian Davison, and follows the turbulent life of Tynesider, Maggie Beaton in her fight for the vote and personal freedom.

It was recently launched at Rutherford’s department store in Morpeth – the town where Emily’s family used to live – on International Women’s Day.

Husband Graeme got into role as the grumpy man in the bowler hat who argues with Maggie over a suffragette newspaper – but she gets the last laugh!

Jessica of Morpeth was the most stylish of hat-wearers on International Women's Day!

Jessica of Morpeth was the most stylish of hat-wearers on International Women’s Day!

So go on – have a go at the competition – and good luck!

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – suffragettes out in force in Morpeth!


   Morpeth was buzzing today with the first events of the year to mark the centenary of Emily Wilding Davison’s martyrdom in the cause of women’s emancipation.

Werca's Folk singing The Women's March by Emily's grave

Werca’s Folk singing The Women’s March by Emily’s grave

A hundred years ago, her protest at the Epsom races for Votes for Women led to her being trampled by the King’s horse. She died a few days later.  Her body was brought back to be buried in the family plot in Morpeth, Northumberland – and huge crowds lined the road to pay tribute to “the wild lass”.


Today, there was a packed church at St Mary’s for a very moving service of tributes and songs, and a procession to the graveside.

Descendants at Emily's graveside

Descendants at Emily’s graveside

Lauren Caisley, descendant of Emily's who spoke at the service - Emily would have been proud!

Lauren Caisley, descendant of Emily’s who spoke at the service – Emily would have been proud!

Later in the day, I was doing a signing at Rutherford’s department store in the town (close to where Emily used to make passionate speeches and throw sweets to local children). A special edition of my suffragette novel, NO GREATER LOVE, with a new ending, has been launch today to mark Emily’s centenary.Signing at Rutherford's, 8 March 2013

The profits from books sold at Rutherford’s will go towards International Women’s Day Oxfam appeal.

Cakes & Books At The Lit & Phil

Earlier this month at Newcastle’s Literary & Philosophical Society we had the official launch of the paperback edition of my new book, The Haunting of Kulah.

The Lit & Phil is a special place for me – it’s where I do a lot of the background research for my books. I also do a lot of the actual writing there, in the cosy “silence room” on the ground floor:

We held the book launch itself up in the main library – it was great to have so many people come along to see my holiday slides that’d inspired ‘Kulah, and to hear the various passages from the book read out. (And a big thank you to my husband Graeme and son Charlie for helping out with the characters for this!)

We even had souvenir cakes made for the event… though I’m not sure if any of these survived the evening – they were very good to eat!

And of course, I did my duty (can you call it that when it’s so enjoyable?) as an author, signing books – the profits from all the sales on the night went to the Lit & Phil’s appeal – thanks to daughter Amy for handling the sales!

Local Event – Come Along If You Can!

Just a quick update – If you subscribe to the New Writing North newsletter (“The Listening Post“), you probably noticed that I’m speaking at the Ryton Social Club on Thursday evening.

I’ll be there as one of Gateshead Libraries’ Local History Month events. The main thing I’m going to be talking about is researching historical places – I’ll be focusing on the North East locations that featured so prominently in the Jarrow and Durham Trilogies, and the six Tyneside Sagas.

Speaking of the Tyneside Sagas, I’m overwhelmed with how well the new Kindle edition of The Tea Planter’s Daughter is doing – currently at number 24 in’s Kindle Bestsellers List.

Normally at events like this, I’d sign any copies of my books that you brought along with you. But I’m not sure how this works for Kindle books – maybe I can sign the back of your Kindle for you! 😉

The evening is just £3 on the door, and there’s lots of parking available as the social club is right next door to Ryton’s Summerfield store.

I hope to see you there!

The Falklands War of 1982

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the start of the Falklands war, which is being commemorated at the National Memorial Arboretum with the lighting of a single flame. This will burn for the length of the conflict – 74 days:

Several of the hundred ships that sailed for the South Atlantic less than a week after the invasion were built on the Tyne – HMS Bristol, HMS Glasgow, HMS Exeter, HMS Glamorgan, HMS Argonaut, HMS Penelope, HMS Cordella, RFA Omleda, RFA Stromness, SS Atlantic Conveyor and SS Atlantic Causeway.

It was through discussion with my husband’s family who lived in Wallsend, and a meeting with John Mew who served on HMS Coventry that I came to write For Love and Glory.

Over the next ten weeks, I (along with the rest of the British media!), will be covering the events in the Falklands from thirty years ago. Later THIS month, a new edition of For Love and Glory will be published – initially for Kindle, but the paperback version will be ready soon after.


To mark International Women’s Day, we gathered in the ancient church of St Mary’s in Morpeth to celebrate the life of Suffragette martyr, Emily Wilding Davison

Wearing suffragette ribbons, our gathering of North East women (and a few men!) sang hymns, joined in songs with Werca’s Folk, listened to amusing and spirited words from Northumberland’s female High Sheriff (who happens to be a reverend too – how Emily would have approved!) and the Romanian consul – also a woman.

Afterwards we were given long-stemmed white carnations and processed behind Emily’s descendants to her graveside.  Flowers were laid to the sound of Werca’s Folk singing the rousing Women’s Marseillaise that Emily would have known well.  Then there were hot drinks and a buffet in the nearby hall – the whole event laid on by Northumberland County Council.

(I took this with my phone, balanced against the railings, so that’s why it’s on a tilt!)

Next year is the centenary of Emily Davison’s death – there will be many events to mark the occasion – I’ll keep you updated here.

“The tranquil graveyard was so overrun with mourners that Maggie and Rose could not get near to see the coffin lowered into the ground at the Davison burial mound, so they patiently waited their turn among the lofty pines. Some time later they were able to approach the iron-fenced memorial which was almost hidden under the heaps of wreaths and floral messages. The scent of the flowers was overpowering as Maggie tossed her own modest purple iris onto the coffin.

‘I’ll fight on, I promise!’ Maggie whispered, as around her women openly wept.”  

Extract from my novel THE SUFFRAGETTE