Elizabeth Speller

Elizabeth Speller

I am the author of three novels and four non-fiction books.

My latest novel,
At Break of Day, is published in early November 2013 by Virago and simultaneously in the USA by Pegasus, under the title The First of July. It tells the story of four very different men, leading very different lives, who find themselves brought together at daybreak on July 1st 1916: the beginning of the Battle of the Somme. The end of that day saw 100,000 British casualties alone; it also, many believe, saw the end of the old world and its dreams. There's more about this book here.

My first novel was
The Return of Captain John Emmett, published by Virago in 2010 and by published in paperback, and by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the US, in 2011. It was chosen as the Richard & Judy Summer Pick, the Orange New Writers Book of the Month and short-listed for the Waverton Good Reads Award. You can watch the Richard & Judy interview below.
The second novel in the Laurence Bartram series, The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton, was published the following year by Virago and, in the US, by HMAM. It's a mystery set in the ancient landscape between Stonehenge and the Savernake Forest.

My previous non-fiction books included
Following Hadrian, a reconstruction of the restless travels of the creative, scholarly and melancholy first-century Roman emperor around his Empire; city guides to Athens and Rome; and a memoir of my family,The Sunlight on the Garden.

I also write poetry and was a recent prize-winner in the Bridport poetry competition and short-listed for the Forward Prize in 2009. My latest poems can be found in the current issue of
Tellus Magazine. More profitably I am also a ghost blogger...

I have contributed to publications as varied as the
Financial Times, Independent, Big Issue and Vogue and produced the libretto for the requiem for Linda McCartney, Farewell, composed by Michael Berkeley (OUP).

I read Classics at Cambridge as a mature student and have a post-graduate degree in Ancient History. I've had numerous jobs including being a (rather bad) wine waitress, making a survey of inscriptions in a large village churchyard, writing travel brochure copy, teaching at university and running poetry workshops.

I have been Chair of the Criticos Prize (for an outstanding book in English about, or inspired by, Greece) and remain on the Prize Committee, but without the admin and peace-keeping functions. I was until last year RLF Fellow at the University of Warwick.

I have three children and a young Viszla dog. I work in a restored shepherd's hut in an old apple orchard on the edge of a Cotswold valley and in a small cottage on the Ionian island of Paxos.