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Jill Dawson is a British author and poet.

Born in Durham, England, she began publishing aged twenty-two by coming first in a national short story competition.

Dawson has held several fellowships, including the British Council Fellowship in Amherst, and the Creative Writing Fellowship at University of East Anglia, Norwich.

She has also taught Creative Writing across several countries such as the United States, France, Australia, Portugal, Indonesia, Singapore, Morocco and Switzerland.

Dawson currently lives with her husband and their two children, one of whom is adopted, in an award-winning eco-friendly house in the Cambridgeshire Fens.
More about Jill Dawson

Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Non-fiction, Psychological Thriller

United Kingdom

Website: https://jilldawson.co.uk/

Non Series

  • School Tales: Stories By Young Women (Livewire) (1990)
  • The Virago Book of Wicked Verse (1992)
  • The Virago Book of Love Letters (1994)
  • Kisses on Paper / Love Letters by Women from the Thirteenth Century to the Present (1994)
  • Trick of the Light (1997)
  • Magpie (1998)
  • Fred and Edie (2000)
  • Wild Boy (2003)
  • Watch Me Disappear (2006)
  • The Great Lover (2009)
  • Lucky Bunny (2011)
  • The Tell-Tale Heart (2015)
  • The Crime Writer (2016)
  • The Language Of Birds (2019)

Non-fiction

  1. How Do I Look? (1990)
Non-fiction

Detailed book overview

Non Series

School Tales: Stories By Young Women (Livewire)

Jenny wants to get back at her teachers after what happened on Parents’ Day. Is she however taking it too far?

Beth desperately wants to run in the 800 meters. Is it however worth the risk of getting trolled by the boys?

Vonetta idolizes Stephanie Brewster and wants to become just like her. It is however growing into an obsession!

This book is a collection of 14 raw and exciting short stories by young female writers aged between 15 and 25 years, most of whom are still in secondary school.

They write about their trials and tribulations, and the romance and friendships in school.

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 1990
ISBN: 978-0704349223
Publisher: Women's Press
The Virago Book of Wicked Verse

This humorous collection of poems, erotic and derisive to say the least, is an illuminating comment on the ability of women to transform poetry into a medium of subversion.

With influential poets who cut across continents and centuries, this collection profusely illustrates the numerous ways in which women can be ‘wicked’ – by their own definition…

Some of the poems in the anthology are by:

Maya Angelou, Aphra Behn, Margaret Atwood, Emily Dickinson, Nina Cassian, Jacky Kay, Carol Ann Duffy, Suniti Namjoshi, Lorna Goodison, Liz Lockhead, Grace Nichols, Dorothy Parker, Fiona Pitt-Kethley, and Izumi Shikibu.

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 1992
ISBN: 978-1853813870
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
The Virago Book of Love Letters

This collection of letters by women writers like Simone De Beauvoir, Anne Boleyn, Anne Stevenson, and two by Edith Thompson—who is the subject of Jill Dawson’s novel, Fred & Edie—offers an intimate look at an unguarded side of the writers like never before.

The misery of unrequited love or the end of an affair are some of the strong emotions in this entrancing collection which explores the enduring power of the love affair that gives rise to passionate and often vulnerable personal writings.

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 1994
ISBN: 978-1860495236
Publisher: Virago Press Limited
Kisses on Paper / Love Letters by Women from the Thirteenth Century to the Present

This is an anthology of stories edited by Jill Dawson.

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 1994
ISBN: 978-0571198641
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Trick of the Light

A young couple abandons the concrete jungle of London's East End for an isolated and mountainous corner of Washington State.

The place, which was chosen by her partner Mick who is half-American, is as alien as can be to Rita.

Nonetheless, she gradually gets used to living there with their young daughter Frances, despite the fact that the dilapidated cabin neither has electricity nor water.

Soon afterwards, Mick becomes increasingly temperamental, something that makes Rita unleash flashes of her own rage at their young daughter.

However, when she crosses paths with a poacher named Ryan, the redneck triggers a sense of rebellion in her.

This is a striking tale of a young mother striving to protect her daughter and of a father scarred by his own childhood.

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 1997
ISBN: 978-0340653838
Publisher: Sceptre
Magpie

“Losing everything can be a great place to start.”

Determined to make a fresh start, a young and hopeful Liliy Waite arrives in London from Yorkshire with her five-year-old son Matthew late in the night, with nothing more than two suitcases and a bag of burnet remains.

Penniless, with a young child to take care of and without the support of a husband, Lily is in a world of trouble.

Things however begin to change for the better, and Lily’s heart even learns to love again, as she falls in love with her Jamaican neighbor.

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-0340653852
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Fred and Edie

The year is 1922 in London, England.

A clerk by the name Percy Thompson is stabbed to death one night on his way home from the theater.

The striking case that ensues will capture the fascination of an entire nation.

Edith, the victim’s wife, and her young lover, Frederick Bywaters, are convicted and summarily tried before being hanged for murder, despite the fact that a petition to spare their lives receives over one million signatures.

Novelist and poet Jill Dawson has taken this astonishing real life story of Britain’s most notorious adulteress and transformed it into a striking tale of destructive seduction.

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 2000
ISBN: 978-0618197286
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Wild Boy

It’s France in the 18th-century.

A twelve-year old child is captured in the forests near Aveyron, having lived in the wild for seven years.

After being put on public display as a freak, the Wild Boy is finally handed over to the determined yet emotionally repressed Doctor Itard who is given the responsibility of educating the boy.

He names him Victor, and attempts to explore the hidden life of the strange boy who becomes the subject of a heated debate about nature vs. nurture.

Although Itard's efforts are futile, Victor becomes drawn to the motherly Mme Guerin, bringing into focus just how the role of mothers in caring for atypical children is greatly underestimated.

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-0340822975
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Watch Me Disappear

Tina Humber is a forty-year old mother living in America.

When she has a moment of panic over her 10 year-old daughter, it revives the memory of her childhood friend, Mandy Baker, who mysteriously disappeared from their tiny Cambridgeshire village around at the same age.

As images resurface and the past comes back to life, Tina begins to suspect the tragic truth behind what happened to her childhood friend.

However, given that incident took place several years ago, is there anyone who will believe something that is merely based on intuition and tiny bits of recollection?

And most importantly, will her actions give rise to dire consequences?

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-0340822999
Publisher: Sceptre
The Great Lover

It’s the summer of 1909.

When Rupert Brooke moves into the Orchard Tea Gardens in Cambridgeshire as a lodger, seventeen-year-old Nell Golightly works there as the new maid.

Renowned for his looks and unconventional ways, the youthful poet manages to steal the hearts of both men and women, whilst still holding his firmly in place.

Brooke is so irresistible, so much that even the sensible Nell starts falling for him.

What is his secret?

In this engaging and enticing book, poet and novelist Jill Dawson fictionalizes the most explosive of Brooke’s twenty-seven years, looking at the demise of his father, his stint as a schoolmaster, and the loss of his homo and heterosexual virginities.

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0340935668
Publisher: Sceptre
Lucky Bunny

They say that crime is a man's business. Well they clearly never head of Queenie Dove.

Smart, bold and seductive, this self-proclaimed genius was unmatched when it came to maneuvering through the streets of London; from the East End through Soho to Mayfair, she elevated from shop-lifting during her childhood to more lucrative crimes during the decades after the war.

So was she really such a sinister person or did she have more evil done to her than she ever did to others?

This adventurous tale of deception has more agony and heartache than the protagonist would like to admit.

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-0062202505
Publisher: Harper Perennial
The Tell-Tale Heart

A professor of American Studies, an alcoholic and a philanderer: fifty-year-old Patrick has only six months to live.

Meanwhile in rural Cambridgeshire, a teenager succumbs to his injuries following a motorcycle accident.

When Patrick undergoes a heart transplant, receiving the boy’s heart, the two strangers are suddenly conjoined.

After fully recuperating, Patrick embarks on a mission to find out exactly who his donor was.

Upon learning that his donor was a local boy named Drew Beamish, Patrick becomes even more curious, determined to uncover the entire story of his heart.

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-0062348807
Publisher: Harper Perennial
The Crime Writer

It’s the mid-1960s in England.

Novelist Patricia Highsmith moves into a tiny cottage in Suffolk, desperate to get some alone time in order to work on her craft.

Other than writing, Pat is also running away from the fact that she's involved in a secret romantic affair with Sam, a married woman living in London.

Her accomplishments however still bring her trouble even in the peaceful village, as a youthful reporter named Virginia “Ginny” Smythson-Balby wants to unmask Pat’s obsession with murder and the psychology of a murderer.

When Sam however pays a visit, and the tension between Pat and Sam’s husband reaches boiling point, Pat realizes that she is no longer just an author of murder and brutality, but a ruthless participant.

Crime however has consequences.

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 2016
ISBN: 978-0062669582
Publisher: Harper Perennial
The Language Of Birds

It’s the summer of 1974.

Twenty-six-year-old Mandy River moves to London determined to make a fresh start far from her dark past.

There, she is hired as a nanny to look after the children of Lady Katherine Morven—a rich society woman in the middle of an ugly divorce.

Despite being in an affluent Belgravia house, there a sense of restlessness in the Morven home.

Men seem to be stalking the house while mysterious phone calls reign day and night.

Whereas Katherine claims that her distant husband is a violent man who can’t be trusted, the man that Mandy meets is delightful and loving—nothing like the monster that was described.

So whom should she believe?

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 2019
ISBN: 978-1473654532

Non-fiction

How Do I Look?

This is a non-fiction book about self-image and eating disorders.

In this book, specifically meant for teenagers, the author addresses the subjects of self-esteem, self-image, and eating disorders, even going further to talk about her own recovery from an eating disorder.

Author: Jill Dawson
First Release: 1990
ISBN: 978-1853812224
Publisher: Virago Press Limited