For our first episode of 2022, we are going back to the 18th century, to look at the women who wielded power and the means they used to gain it.

What challenges did they face? Are they remembered more or less favourably than their male contemporaries? And if, say, they had magic at their disposal, how would they use it to even the gender playing field?

Joining us for this episode is Kate Heartfield, whose novel The Embroidered Book, explores the stories of two sisters in the 18th century courts of France and Naples.

Mentioned in this episode:

  • A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by H G Parry
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  • Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
  • The Book of the City of Ladies by Christine de Pizan
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft

Kate Heartfield is the author of The Embroidered Book, a historical fantasy novel (spring 2022), and Assassin’s Creed: The Magus Conspiracy (summer 2022). Her Alice Payne time travel novellas were published in 2018 and 2019. Her debut novel Armed in Her Fashion (2018) won Canada’s Aurora Award.

She also writes interactive fiction, including The Road to Canterbury (2018), and The Magician’s Workshop (2019), published by Choice of Games. Her short fiction has been shortlisted for the Nebula, Locus, Aurora, Sunburst and Crawford awards, and her journalism for a National Newspaper Award. A former newspaper journalist, Kate lives near Ottawa, Canada.