‘Bleak House, the fact that Esther gets smallpox…’: Dickens in Ducks, Newburyport

This is the paper I gave at The Impact of Dickens conference on 17 September, with many thanks to Dr Pete Orford, Dr John Drew, my fellow panelists and the attendees for a brilliant discussion of all things Dickens over the two days. In 2019, the novel Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann was published toContinue reading “‘Bleak House, the fact that Esther gets smallpox…’: Dickens in Ducks, Newburyport”

Lovechild: A Sloppy Affair?

Reading over Our Mutual Friend again, one word (or two words joined by a hyphen) shook me out of my comfortable familiarity with the text: ‘love-child’. I suppose in some ways, I shouldn’t have been surprised. There is a long tradition of exploring illegitimacy in fiction. Indeed, the nineteenth century is awash with characters bornContinue reading “Lovechild: A Sloppy Affair?”

Catherine Cookson: A Review of the Biography of her Life.

Catherine Cookson by Kathleen Jones My rating: 5 of 5 stars In 1994, I wrote a letter to Catherine Cookson, explaining that my Mam was a huge fan, and that I wanted to get her something special for her 40th birthday. I asked if it were possible for her to autograph a book for her.Continue reading “Catherine Cookson: A Review of the Biography of her Life.”

Dickens Fanfic – Chapter 2

Still thinking about the elusive Mrs Blackpool from Dickens’s Hard Times, and as I had such fun thinking about what had happened to her to make her the woman so despised in the novel, I have continued on. No doubt it needs some work, but in the meantime, here is Chapter 2 of Mrs Blackpool…Continue reading “Dickens Fanfic – Chapter 2”

How I Came to The Story of Divorce

If I was going to pinpoint the reason for why I was inspired to write The Story of Divorce, I guess, to some extent, I am going to have to blame Dickens. But before we get to the inimitable novelist and the reason why he was responsible for my obsession with the stories underlying theContinue reading “How I Came to The Story of Divorce”

A Bit of Dickens Fanfic

If you have been reading along with #HardTimes2020 at https://hardtimesreadalong.wordpress.com/ you will note that I am getting a bit over-invested in Dickens’s portrayal of Stephen Blackpool, his martyr. And having a bit of time to spare I thought I might try seeing him from another point of view: his wife’s. Here is my Dickens fanfic,Continue reading “A Bit of Dickens Fanfic”