Historical Debut Novelists: Sarah Marsh & Elizabeth O’Connor - Part of Summer Derby Book Festival 2024


Date: 5.30pm

Book Tickets

Contact details

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Derby QUAD & Cinema
Market Place
Cathedral Quarter

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This event will be BSL translated for both the author Sarah Marsh and the audience and will include on-screen captioning. BSL interpreter will be Emma Walker.

We welcome two celebrated debut novelists who we know will appeal to lovers of historical fiction.

In A Sign of Her Own, Sarah Marsh tells the story of Ellen Lark, a deaf woman on the verge of marriage.  She and her fiancé receive an unexpected visit from Alexander Graham Bell, who had instructed her in speaking in a technique called Visual Speech. Bell had confided in her about his dream of producing a device to transmit the human voice along a wire: the telephone. Now, on the cusp of wealth and renown, Bell wants Ellen to support his claim to the patent.  But Ellen has a different story to tell: that of how Bell betrayed her and other deaf pupils.

One of The Observer’s Ten Debut novelists for 2024, Elizabeth O’Connor’s beautiful, devastating debut Whale Fall tells a story of longing and betrayal.  Set in 1938, Manod is a young woman living on a remote island off the coast of Wales just as the world looks ready to end – and she is trying to imagine a future for herself. When two anthropologists arrive from the mainland, Manod sees a rare chance to leave the island and discover the life she has been searching for.

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