Di

Diane Atkinson lives in Shoreditch, London. She was born in the North-East and educated in Cornwall and London, where she completed a Ph.D. on the politics of women's sweated labour. She taught history at secondary schools in London before moving to the Museum of London, where she worked as a lecturer and curator, specialising in women's history.

She is the author of two illustrated history books,
Suffragettes in Pictures and Funny Girls: Cartooning for Equality.
She has also written three biographies, Love & Dirt: The marriage of Arthur Munby & Hannah Cullwick, Elsie and Mairi Go to War: Two Extraordinary Women on the Western Front and

The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton


THE ELSIE AND MAIRI STATUE IN PERVYSE FUND
Fundraising campaign

Elsie and Mairi statue

Even since I wrote the book
Elsie and Mairi Go To War: Two Extraordinary Women on the Western Front in 2009 I have wanted to raise the funds for a life-size bronze sculpture of them to be placed in the village of Pervyse where they spent the First World War giving hundreds of wounded Belgian soldiers the ‘golden hour’ treatment before sending them to military hospitals behind the lines.

Please read full article here at STATUE FUND

Cover USA

September, 2013
THE CRIMINAL CONVERSATION OF MRS NORTON
IS OUT IN THE USA

ELSIE AND MAIRI GO TO TRON
On OCTOBER 4, 2013
See LITERARY EVENTS for more information

On June 21, 2013
THE CRIMINAL CONVERSATION OF MRS NORTON
IS OUT IN PAPERBACK

This summer Diane Atkinson is giving talks on her books at a number of events
.
For more details please go to LITERARY EVENTS on this website.



Dia
ne Atkinson's latest book, The Criminal
Conversation of Mrs Norton
has now also been
published as a paperback

To read an extract from the book
please go to
WRITINGS

If you wish to pre-order please follow the link
below to the Random House website.

ISBN 978-1-84809-301-0
Publisher Random House
Date of publication 5 July 2012

To order, please go to
www.rhbooks.co.uk


To read the latest reviews of
The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton
please go to
REVIEWS


About the book:

Synopsis

Cover





Westminster, London, 22 June 1836. It is a fine, fresh morning that will become hot as the day progresses. Crowds are gathering at the Court of Common Pleas.

On trial is Caroline Sheridan, a beautiful and clever young woman who had been manoeuvred into marrying the Honourable George Norton when she was just nineteen. Ten years older, he is a dull, violent and controlling lawyer but Caroline is determined not to be a traditional wife. By her early twenties, Caroline has become a respected poet and songwriter, clever mimic and outrageous flirt. Her beauty and wit attract many male admirers, including the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. After years of simmering jealousy, Norton accuses Caroline and the Prime Minister of a 'criminal conversation' (adultery) precipitating 'the scandal of the century'. In Westminster Hall that day is a young Charles Dickens, who would, just a few months later, fictionalise the even as 'Bardell v. Pickwick' in The Pickwick Papers. After a trial lasting twelve hours, the jury's not guilty verdict is immediate, unanimous and sensational. Norton is a laughing stock. Angry and humiliated he cuts Caroline off, as was his right under the law, refuses to let her see their three sons, seizes her manuscripts and letters, her clothes and jewels, and leaves her destitute.

The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton is the extraordinary story of one woman's fight for the rights of women everywhere. For the next thirty years Caroline campaigned for women and battled male-dominated Victorian society, helping to write the Infant Custody Act (1839), and influenced the Matrimonial Causes (Divorce) Act (1857) and the Married Women's Property Act (1870), which gave women a separate legal identity for the first time.

letterhead

To read an extract from the book please go to WRITINGS


In Praise of The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton

Kathy Lette
‘The liberating life story of the first feminist legislator’

Amanda Foreman
'Diane Atkinson has written the definitive account of one of the most important trials of the nineteenth century - that of Caroline Norton's fight to keep her children. The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton is an important and necessary book. It also happens to be beautifully written and extremely entertaining. Diane Atkinson has resurrected a nineteenth century heroine for the twenty-first century.'

Joan Bakewell

'It was one of the greatest scandals of the day - involving the Prime Minister, a lady novelist, a brutal husband and bringing forth the first piece of feminist legislation in the land. Diane Atkinson cuts through the thickets of family squabbles and legal entanglements to lay bare the true heart of Caroline Norton, a woman who took the fight to see her children to the highest court in the land and changed the lot of mothers for ever. Her story is set against the social and political turmoil of England in flux, and told with a clarity and wit that makes it a pleasure to read.'

 

 

 

 

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