Throughout her working life, Lydia Syson has worked with words to communicate complex ideas. After an early career as a BBC World Service radio producer, she wrote a doctoral thesis on Timbuktu (Birkbeck, University of London, 2003) and a scholarly biography of a notorious eighteenth-century fertility guru, Dr James Graham (Doctor of Love, 2008). Four critically acclaimed historical novels, three for young adults, have further honed Lydia’s research, story-telling and public speaking skills. She is also a successful ghostwriter.
Lydia’s previous work includes media training for various public sector organisations, copywriting, freelance journalism and reviewing, and she has been a visiting lecturer at City University. She regularly delivers creative writing workshops for schools and mentors emerging writers in various contexts; working with student bloggers on a 2018 scientific expedition to the Kermadec Islands was a highlight. In 2019, with RLF support, Lydia designed and led an experimental writing project with a food poverty organisation.
In her role as RLF Writing Fellow at The Courtauld Institute of Art (2015-2018), Lydia gained considerable insight into how strategies used by professional writers can benefit students and academics. Her lively workshops incorporate solo, pair and group work, and offer participants rich opportunities for creative reflection.