Lydia Syson

Young adults' author, Author of books for adults

Available for:
After dinner speaking



Branford Boase Highly Commended; Longlisted for Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, UKLA Award and Waterstone's Children's Book Prize; shortlisted for WeRead award; twice nominated for the Carnegie.

Adults, 5-11 (Key stages 1 and 2), 11-13 (Key stage 3), 14-16 (Key stage 4), 11-16 (Key stages 3 and 4), 6th Form and college


I love talking to audiences of all ages and sizes and my approach to school and library visits, festivals and other events for children, teenagers and adults is extremely flexible. I will happily travel anywhere in the UK and abroad that can be reached from London by public transport.  As I'm currently an RLF Writing Fellow at the Courtauld Institute for the History of Art, I'm only available Saturday-Wednesday during university termtimes, 2016-17.

I use vivid primary sources of all kinds, always include readings from the novels and plenty of discussion, and my books are an excellent demonstration of how resources lurking in archives, libraries, museums and in and around your own home can be brought to life. I also offer creative writing workshops for young people and adults. 

My illustrated, interactive school talks can be delivered with a focus on English, History, Spanish or French. That Burning Summer offers excellent support for Year 8 and work on the WW2 Home Front, as well as GCSE History courses covering Britain at War (1939-45) and the talk can be be booked with a creative writing workshop that makes use of primary sources. Talks and workshops can also be adapted to integrate history and literacy in Year 6 work on the WW2 Home Front. A World Between Us supports Spanish Civil War units in Highers and AS level history, but also gives invaluable background to the build up to WW2.  Liberty’s Fire works particularly well for Year 12 historians who have studied the French Revolution, providing an overview of upheavals in France in the 19th Century, culminating in the Franco-Prussian War, Siege of Paris, and Paris Commune. (This book was written with the help of an Arts Council grant.)

All my areas of expertise are great topics for sixth-form enrichment, extra-curricular talks and EPQs. A former BBC World Service producer/broadcaster, I've also taught novel-writing at City University, written resources for the National Literacy Trust, and I mentor emerging writers. For more information and resources, please visit my website where you can download an information sheet: .  

Don't hesitate to get in touch to discuss specific requirements.

Liberty's Fire (isbn:9781471403675)
France's forgotten revolution: the 1871 Paris Commune. 'Historical fiction at its best: opening a window on the past and showing a moment that has echoes and resonances with our own troubled times' AWFULLY BIG REVIEWS
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That Burning Summer (isbn:9781471400537)
Kent, 1940. A girl, a boy and a crash-landing. An evocative wartime coming-of-age story featuring a Polish pilot. 'Consistent excellence' THE INDEPENDENT
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A World Between Us (isbn:9781471334603)
Epic romance of the Spanish Civil War. 'An outstanding debut novel for teenagers' THE GUARDIAN
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Doctor of Love: Dr James Graham and his Celestial Bed (isbn:9781846880544)
First biography of the Enlightenment's most notorious medical entrepreneur, for decades unfairly dismissed as 'the king of quacks'. 'Syson pins the iconoclastic Graham like a butterfly on the wider canvas of a lively social history.' THE TIMES
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CWISL (Children's Writers and Illustrators in South London), SoA (Society of Authors), RLF (Royal Literary Fund), SAS (Scattered Authors Society), HWA (Historical Writers Association), IBMT (International Brigade Memorial Trust)

Other search criteria:

History and Biography

Book Type:
Non fiction for adults, Fiction for children (any age), Young Adult

history, historical fiction, family history, France, Spain, WW2, radical, war, romance, Skype, feminism, 19th century, 20th century, twentieth century, politics, modern languages, French Revolution, War, Poland, French,