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 then 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.
Lydia has meanwhile been employed as a media trainer for various public sector organisations, and also as a copywriter, a freelance journalist and reviewer, and 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.
Tutoring undergraduates, postgraduates and staff as an RLF Writing Fellow at The Courtauld Institute of Art (2015-2018) has given her considerable insight into how strategies used by professional writers can benefit students and academics. Lydia’s lively workshops incorporate solo, pair and group work, and offer participants rich opportunities for creative reflection.