History comes alive at St Albans Literary Festival

Tracy Borman

Tracy Borman - Credit: Archant

The intrigue and drama of British history comes breathtakingly alive at this year’s St Albans Literary Festival, with two outstanding writers in the field now confirmed to appear.

Amy Licence

Amy Licence - Credit: Archant

Tracy Borman, the author of Sunday Times bestseller Thomas Cromwell, presents the definitive look at Tudor life in her new book The Private Lives of the Tudors, turning everything you think you know about the world’s

most famous dynasty on its head and exploring the secrets of servants, attendants and those who surrounded the monarchy.

These attendants knew the truth behind the glamorous exterior. They saw the tears shed by Henry VII upon the death of his son Arthur. They knew the tragic secret behind ‘Bloody’ Mary’s phantom pregnancies. And they saw the ‘crooked carcass’ beneath Elizabeth I’s carefully applied makeup, gowns and accessories.

It is the accounts of these eyewitnesses, as well as a rich array of other contemporary sources that historian Tracy Borman has examined more closely than ever before. With new insights and discoveries, and in the same way that she brilliantly illuminated the real Thomas Cromwell - The Private Life of the Tudors will reveal previously unexamined details about the characters we think we know so well.

Tracy will be appearing at St Peter’s Church on Sunday July 10 - don’t miss a rare opportunity to see one of the nation’s leading historical writers first hand.

Prior to Tracy’s session at St Peter’s, we are proud to feature one of the most prolific historical authors of her generation, with 18 books to her name.

Most Read

Amy Licence is an historian of women’s lives in the medieval and early modern period, from Queens to commoners. Her particular interest lies in the late 15th and early 16th century, in gender relations, Queenship and identity, rites of passage, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth.

Amy has written for The Guardian, The TLS, The New Statesman, BBC History, The English Review, The Huffington Post, The London Magazine and other places. She has been interviewed regularly for BBC radio, including Woman’s Hour, and made her TV debut in “The Real White Queen and her Rivals” documentary for BBC2, in 2013. She also writes literary fiction and has been shortlisted twice for the Asham Award.

Her talk is on Medieval Queens: Written into the Margins, follows the release of her latest books, a joint biography of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, and Red Roses which tells the story of women of the Lancastrian dynasty from around 1345-1509, and will look at the female experience and how it has been reported by historians.

This year’s St Albans LitFest follows the inaugural event in 2014, which featured authors including Sir Terry Wogan, Jessie Burton, James Runcie, Leanda de Lisle and Conn Iggulden.

It includes talks and workshops taking place in different sections of St Peter’s and also in the churchyard, using the storyteller’s circle opened there in the summer of 2014, as well as select locations around St Albans city centre.

The festival will be kicking off on Monday July 4 and runs until Sunday July 10, and promises a programme of exciting activities aimed at appealing to both adults and children. Confirmed guests include Human Rights lawyer Anthony Lester QC, graphic novelist Dave Gibbons, crime writers David Mark and Peter Robinson, and historical author Alison Weir, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.

St Albans LitFest will also support any fringe events taking place during the weekend, offering publicity and assistance if any organisation wants to run their own talk.

Run entirely by volunteers, the festival is supported by the Herts Advertiser, and editor Matt Adams said: “We are delighted to welcome Tracy Borman and Amy Licence to St Albans LitFest, and we are sure their insightful accounts of British history will appeal to our community.”

If you’d like to get involved in the festival, or just want to find out more information as it becomes available, visit the Facebook site or visit the website.

Tickets for all announced events are now available from the LitFest website.