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Amy Licence

Author and historian of childbirth and women's lives

Getting my hands dirty in all aspects of women's lives in the medieval and early modern period, from Queens to commoners. Devil's advocate and peddler of unusual theories. Particular interests lie in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, in gender relations, Queenship and identity, rites of passage, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth. Always interested in the gory details. Has produced two boys and a few books.

History Books By Women: Eight Of The Best From 2016

It came as something of a revelation this November that the majority of recommendations in the media's annual roundup of the best history books of 2016 were written by men. In response, Twitter was flooded with the names of inspiring female historians, past and present, under the hashtag #HistoryBooksbyWomen. 2016 has seen a plethora of publications by talented women so, to redress the balance somewhat, here are my top picks of the year:
28/12/2016 11:36 GMT

Why the Study of History Is Imperative Today

I love studying history. I don't think I will ever tire of it. It's exciting, it's full of drama and passion, heartbreak and victories: it has a better plot than any novel you can buy. There's nothing I love more than rifling through the wardrobe accounts of Edward IV or debating the implications of Richard III's actions.
21/12/2015 12:20 GMT

Welcome to Cameronville: Only Empathy Can Rebuild a Civilised World

There is only one answer to the divisive rift at the heart of our society. That is empathy. Empathy for the physically and mentally unwell, for people of all ages and all classes from all countries, cultures, religions and backgrounds, for victims and criminals, for those who make mistakes and also those who have never erred. It should know no limits.
22/06/2015 10:36 BST

Tea: A Very British Beverage

This is a lovely little full teacup of a book; light and refreshing yet full of body, a fresh new blend of narrative and anecdote. Paul Chrystal's new book "Tea: A Very British Beverage" offers a satisfying look at the history and cultural impact of tea, ranging from the legends of its discovery...
10/11/2014 10:20 GMT

Young Women Don't Get Politics? A Response to Fox News' Kimberly Guilfoyle

Guilfoyle has not been smart enough to realise she been co-opted by a misogynistic culture, being made the mouthpiece for a worrying trend which she was in a position to reject. Luckily, the sort of young women whose experience she distrusts, often prove to be far more savvy when it comes to equality in the media.
24/10/2014 16:16 BST

The Man Who Wrote Henry VIII's Court

Now, historian Lauren Mackay has looked afresh at Chapuys' letters, returning to his actual words, to decipher exactly what he did have to say. And what he didn't. What emerges in this new book about the Tudor court is a complex diplomatic picture of a lively and clever man who defies the stereotypes perpetuated in some history books to shine as he takes centre stage.
21/04/2014 17:58 BST

An Anne Boleyn for a Post-Modern Generation

By her own confession, philosopher Susan Bordo is obsessed with Anne Boleyn. The very cover of her new book alerts the reader to the fact they are about to experience something more than straightforward history.
15/01/2014 13:36 GMT

Fact and Fiction: The Princes in the Tower

The reign of Richard III provides the historian with an endless minefield of possibilities. From his loyal service to the house of York, through the dramatic events of 1483, which saw the executions of his family and allies, the removal of his nephew from the throne and his own coronation, events will continue to divide those who remain fascinated by this enigma of a man.
10/12/2013 13:17 GMT

Yehoshue Perle: A Modernist Voice From the Warsaw Ghetto

Hailed as a modern Yiddish masterpiece and dismissed as too bleak to be possible, this new translation of Perle's 1935 autobiographical novel <em>Everyday Jews</em> belongs in the same tradition as Gorky's <em>My Childhood</em> and Joyce's <em>Dubliners</em>.
13/11/2013 12:28 GMT

Sin on the South Bank

Flowing through the heart of the capital, the history of the river Thames offers a powerful symbol for the lives of Londoners through the centuries. In fact, there have been people living on the site since before Roman times, washing there, catching fish and watching the horizon for signs of invaders.
03/10/2013 16:32 BST

Walking in Anne Boleyn's Footsteps

It is hard to find anything new on Anne these days, however <em>In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn</em> fills a definite gap in the market.
01/10/2013 14:34 BST

Sydney and Violet Schiff: A New Biography of a Marginal Modern Marriage

Stephen Klaidman's new biog-raphy of Sydney and Violet Schiff highlights an interesting couple, who made their own con-tribution to literary circles of the 1920s. Relatively overlooked until now, the Schiffs appear on the surface to be a conventional mid-dle class couple, based in London and the South of France.
05/09/2013 11:42 BST

From the Inappropriate to the Criminal: The Internet War We Must All Fight

Almost straightaway the negative reactions began. While there is always a valuable place for disagreement and the sort of comment that can develop an article's argument or add to it, this eleven-year-old's writing incited such descriptions as "feminist bull-shit" and ambiguous statements that the author belonged "to a certain tribe."
08/08/2013 14:52 BST