Join Margaret Skea and Katharine Tiernan for a fascinating glimpse into the challenges of breathing life into contrasting historical figures – one legendary, the other scarcely known, but both iconic. Katharine’s recent novel, Cuthbert of Farne revisits the North’s favourite saint while Margaret’s latest, Katharina: Fortitude, completes her fictionalised biography of Martin Luther’s wife.
Margaret Skea is an award-winning novelist and short story writer. Her most recent award was for Katharina: Deliverance, a fictionalised biography based on the life of the reformer Martin Luther’s wife. It was placed 2nd in the international Historical Novel Society New Novel Award 2018.
She is particularly interested in the challenge of bringing to life significant, but shadowy historical characters.
Some Reviews of Margaret’s writing:
‘A wonderfully vivid portrait of how a headstrong girl grows into a wry, steely and impassioned woman, carves a path for herself through tumultuous times, and changes the course of history in the process. Skea knows her history, but more importantly, she writes with imagination and humanity.’
Professor Alec Ryrie, Durham University, author of Protestants
‘The writing is assured, evocative, compelling and immersive and a fascinating reading experience.’
Catherine Cho, Lead judge, HNS New Novel Award 2018
And in relation to Katharina: Fortitude, her latest novel:
‘Beautifully written and meticulously researched – historical fiction at its best.’
Katharine Tiernan talks about the challenges of turning hagiography into historical fiction in her recent novel about St Cuthbert. She explores the turbulent history of his times to shed new light on the life of the North’s favourite saint.
Katharine Tiernan grew up in Northumberland and spent many childhood afternoons on the shores of Lindisfarne. Cuthbert of Farne is Katharine’s second novel set in the world of Anglo-Saxon early Christianity.
Some reviews of Cuthbert of Farne
‘This is a tender story of love and longing and belonging in the new Christian communities of seventh century Northumbria. You will want to walk that coast, breathe that air.’
Vibeke Vasbo, author of The Song of Hild.
‘Tiernan has a flair for psychological insight and an imagination that fills in the gaps in the historical record without ever doing violence to what is likely. She is also possessed of a vivid visual imagination, and an illuminator’s eye for small details. This is a highly pleasurable and intelligent piece of historical fiction.’
Extract from a review by Fiona Hook in the Church Times 28th June 2019.