Struck gold!

A review of my latest historical novel The Anarchy has just been published. The Anarchy is the final book in the Conquest trilogy on the turbulent life of the 12th century Welsh noblewoman Nest ferch Rhys. “When Warr delved into Welsh history and discovered Nest, she must have known she’d struck gold.” Historical Novels Review Nest was the daughter of the…

Going Underground

Extensive medieval tunnels have just been found near Tintern Abbey. Many medieval castles had escape tunnels for when the castle was under siege. Manorbier Castle in Wales has an escape tunnel entered through the well. I used this detail from Manorbier and my experience of spending 12 hours in an old lead mine in Cumbria…

Surviving Vikings, rodents, and war

In my most recent lecture for MA Poetics of Imagination at Dartington Arts School, I considered the production of medieval books. I hope some of the students are now busy making their own writing surfaces, inks and pigments. To survive into the 21st century these medieval books had to run the gauntlet of flood, fire, war,…

Of things I’d rather keep in silence I must sing

I’m currently preparing a teaching session for MA Poetics of Imagination at Dartington Arts School on the troubadours and trobairitz, which put me in mind of a wonderful writing residency I had a few years ago in the beautiful medieval village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie in France. In 2016, I collaborated with artist Tania Candiani on an…

Nest ferch Rhys

Video interview with me by Ellie Daniels on researching my latest historical novel, The Anarchy, is here. We discuss the story of Nest ferch Rhys, the heroine of my story, and how I set about researching early medieval Welsh history. I drew on the scant primary sources on Nest – Brut y Tywysogion (Chronicle of…

The Anarchy – video interview

Just posted – a video interview with me on writing The Anarchy with editor Ellie Daniel. We discussed castles in Wales, the little-known women of early medieval history, research for historical fiction, and the character of King Henry I. My latest newsletter is now available. If you are not already on my mailing list you…

The Anarchy out now in paperback

It is available to order at last!  The e-book of my latest novel, The Anarchy, was published in June, but due to coronavirus disruptions for printers, distributors, and publishers, the paperback edition is only just now reaching many online retailers. The Anarchy is the final book in the Conquest series focused on Nest ferch Rhys, the daughter of…

Smoke and Mirrors

My review of Sophia Tobin’s novel, A Map of the Damage, is Editor’s Choice in the new issue of Historical Novels Review. ‘A scintillating novel of smoke and mirrors set in the glass-loaded Mirrormakers Club in London…. The novel vividly confronts us with the physical damage of the Blitz and makes us alive to the emotional…

The Sound of the Middle Ages

I look at the now deserted and stagnant lavoirs, the communal washing places, in the Lot Valley in France and can almost hear women singing, gossiping about mistresses and neighbours, and slapping wet laundry against the stone papillon slabs. My article, ‘The Sound of the Middle Ages‘, has just been published in Historical Novels Review.

Hyperlocal

My latest interview for the Call Centre art research project on the coronavirus pandemic is with artist Tine Bech. We contemplated the pull of home and the imperative to move out from home. We discussed our new sense of hyperlocal arising from the lockdown. You can see a summary of our conversation and more on…