I offer vividly-illustrated interactive talks about my books with plenty of discussion, as well as themed creative writing workshops, readings with Q & A, and participation in panel events.
My main focus is history, but talks also support Spanish and French studies, and all sessions work effectively with 'literacy across the curriculum' strategies.
My novels for children cover:
World War II (invasion, home front, propaganda, Battle of Britain, Poland);
the rise of fascism in 1930s Europe,
the Spanish Civil War and Britain’s involvement (NB 80th anniversary is 2016);
France in revolution in the 19th century and the 1871 Paris Commune.
I’m passionate about encouraging reading for pleasure and will happily talk about books I love as well as those I’ve written and also give career-oriented talks. I also offer Sixth Form enrichment on a wide range of subjects related to my expertise in cultural history - including Timbuktu (the subject of my doctoral thesis), 18th Century history of medicine, and how to use archives and primary sources in fiction. I’m extremely flexible as well as wide-ranging!
My early career was spent as a radio producer for the BBC World Service. A National Literacy Trust trained author, I’ve written material for the NLT Premier League Reading Stars scheme, have taught novel-writing at City University and I’m currently a Royal Literary Fund writing fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art.
Type of Artist:
DetailsPreferred age range:
Years 6-13. Also adults.
No of sessions per day:
Depends on distance and requirements. Maximum of 4 eg 2 talks, 2 workshops.
45-60 minutes, plus signing and discussion time.
Areas prepared to travel to:
Anywhere by public transport if all expenses met, including overnight. London based.
Public transport only outside London.
Please email us for details
Lydia Syson's website
Mr Peacock's Possessions
A World Between Us (2012) -
(Branford Boase Highly Commended Award, Waterstone’s Book prize longlisted, Guardian Children's Fiction Prize longlisted, WeRead Award shortlisted, UKLA Book Award (2014) longlisted, Carnegie Medal (2014) nominated)
That Burning Summer (2013) - (an Independent book of the year 2013)
Liberty’s Fire (2015) - a Telegraph best YA novel of 2015, Carnegie nominated
‘Each time I have met Ms Syson I have found her incredibly intelligent and engaging, particularly on the subject of history for which she has great passion and enthusiasm, enthusiasm which is relatable and piques your own for the subject. This lead me to request the author for a schools event I organised during World Book Week, for a group of 70 teenage students, as I knew she would be a great asset to the day’s proceedings. Throughout the event she was incredibly calm, generous with her time, interacted extremely well with the students, holding their attention in discussion and was very popular with her group of pupils. I would thoroughly recommend Lydia Syson to anyone who is looking for an author that can encourage children to enjoy history.’
Neil Jackson, Children’s Marketing and Events Co-ordinator, Foyles, Charing Cross Road.
‘Lydia came to our school and spoke to year 9. Her presentation was engaging and interesting despite covering a very complex subject. Students were exposed to ideas such as totalitarianism and political extremism which supports the broader curriculum in history and contextualises details for them, as well as introducing key political figures of the inter-war years. Her illustrative slides really helped the students understanding. Things like photographs and party membership slides brought the history to life as do the believable characters in her novel.’
Mike Margerison, Librarian, The Elmgreen School, London.
(or from The Elmgreen School News: ‘Last Tuesday author Lydia Syson came to talk to our Year 9 HAHS students about her novel A World Between Us. The book is a tale of politics, passion and bravery and follows the lives of three young people who travel to Spain…in 1936..[to fight in the Spanish Civil War’] Lydia began the session by setting her novel in context and talked to the students about the rise of fascism and the role of the International Brigades. She went on to describe her research methods and took several questions from the floor. The event was a great success, illustrating how fiction can bring history alive and vice versa.’)
‘Lydia Syson was a reading champion at Lewisham's World Book Night Party, where she spoke enthusiastically to a diverse audience embracing a wide range of ages,
backgrounds and reading levels of 3 books that 'you really should read.' Lydia's selection embraced a rare Spanish Civil War memoir which had informed research for her novel, a Graham Greene novel contemporary to the period (Ministry of Fear) and a wildcard choice from the American bestseller list, Shalom Auslander's Hope: A Tragedy, which certainly created a stir within the room. Audience members also enjoyed talking informally with Lydia one-to-one about reading choices.’
Alan Morrison, Lewisham Library Services
Lydia Syson's Amazon page
Download further information about Lydia's sessions here:
Lydia Syson's school visits - a guide for Authors Aloud.