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Birkbeck welcomes author Philippa Gregory as Honorary Research Fellow

The acclaimed historian and author of The Other Boleyn Girl will join the College as she writes a new history of women in England.

Historian and bestselling author Philippa Gregory has joined Birkbeck’s Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, as she sets to work on her next project: a history of women in England from 1066-1966.

Since discovering her fascination with the Tudor period, Gregory has written a number of bestselling novels that tell the stories of the women who lived through this time. Perhaps most famous among them is The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and feature film.

Having gained a degree in History and a PhD in eighteenth-century literature before embarking on her literary career, Gregory is now returning to her academic roots as she writes a non-fiction history of women in England. The book will focus on real, everyday women who have repeatedly been neglected by history books.

Gregory said: “Writing a history, especially a new and controversial history, is so lively and active that I need to be alongside other historians, learning about their work, sharing mine, and being aware of the issues which are not even yet published – they’re still at the research stage.

“Ever since I was awarded my PhD in 1984, by Edinburgh University, I have wanted to do historical research in a university. In that year, all academic posts were frozen by Mrs Thatcher’s version of austerity, and I turned to part-time teaching work and part-time journalism while writing my first novel. Being appointed an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck is the fulfilment of a long held (very long held!) ambition, and an agreeable retort to a right wing anti-education government. I am especially pleased to come to Birkbeck because the radical philosophy is very dear to my heart, as is the commitment to making education available to all.”

Professor Jan Rueger, Head of the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, said: “We are delighted to welcome Philippa Gregory as an honorary research fellow. Philippa is, of course, a hugely successful novelist whose books inspire readers around the world to explore the past. She is also a trained historian and it will be fascinating for students to learn more about the relationship between these two roles. We are looking forward to hosting a public event with Philippa this summer.”

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