News & Events

find out where you can meet Helen and hear her speak

I passionately believe that as an author and historian I should get out there and not just talk to readers about work published or in progress, but also to debate history with my peers and uncover new ideas for future work

News & Events


As everyone will appreciate, Covid-19 put paid to all literary festivals and live author talks throughout 2020-21 and they have only just begun to get going again in the 2022 festival season. It is unlikely I will be able to travel abroad for the foreseeable future to lecture, and I greatly regret not being able, at present, to travel to the USA where I had been visiting annually to give talks.

Here are my literature festival events for In Search of Mary Seacole: The Making of a Cultural Icon

10 April 11 am – HistFest, British Library, London in conversation with Dr Wanda Wyporska

Click here for more info.


22 April, details TBC –  Black History seminar + screening of Channel 4 documentary The Real Angel of the Crimea, Middlesex University 


18 May, 6 pm –  Bath Literary Festival, at the Holburne Museum: Illustrated lecture on ‘The Lost Portrait of Mary Seacole and its Forgotten Painter’

Click here for more info.


3 June Hay 11.30 am – in conversation with David Olusoga 

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24 September, details TBC Chelsea History Festival 

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25 September, 12 midday   Barnes Book Fest   

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October, details TBC – Shute Festival of Literature and Landscape 

1 October – full details to follow.  Illustrated talk on ‘The Lost Portrait of Mary Seacole and Its Forgotten Artist’  at East Hendred Museum. East Hendred is the village where I believe Mary’s portrait had been hidden away for many years with the Challen family.


20 October, 10.30am –  Dorchester Literary Festival 

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21 October, 4.30 – Wells Festival of Literature in conversation with James Coomarasamy.

Click here for more info.


The Romanov Bride: Juliane of Saxe-Coburg, Grand Duchess Anna Feodorovna of Russia [working title]

Publication date to be confirmed,

Few people know the story of Julie – as her family and relatives usually referred to her –­ and whom Queen Victoria and Prince Albert held in high regard. Her story begins in 1795 when she and her two sisters were taken by their ambitious mother, Auguste of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, on a long coach journey from Coburg to St Petersburg. This was in order to be inspected by Catherine the Great, who was in search of a suitable German bride for her grandson Grand Duke Konstantin. Julie was quickly chosen and summarily abandoned to her fate in Russia. Aged only 14 she was married off the following year but her husband Konstantin was a cruel, unpredictable sociopath and bully and Julie’s life was misery until she was finally able to get away in 1801. She had to wait until 1820 for a divorce, during which time she took refuge in Switzerland and built a fascinating and unorthodox new life for herself, in the process producing two illegitimate children.

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