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Lydia Syson is an award-winning author of historical and political fiction for young adults. Before becoming a writer, she was a radio producer for the BBC World Service, making programmes on anything and everything from icecream to Bohemia.

She went back to university to write a PhD about explorers, poets and Timbuktu, which was followed by a biography of an extraordinary eighteenth-century doctor, James Graham, famous for his electric, magnetic ‘Celestial Bed’. Settings for her novels for teenagers include the Spanish Civil War, the Battle of Britain, and most recently, the Paris Commune.

A fifth-generation Londoner, Lydia lives in Camberwell with her partner and four children.


Spain, 1936. Felix, a spirited young nurse, has travelled to Spain to help the cause of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. But she is also following Nat, a passionate young man who has joined the International Brigades fighting Franco. And George – familiar George from home – is not far behind, in pursuit of Felix … As Spain fights for its freedom against tyranny, Felix battles a conflict of the heart. With the civil war raging around her, Felix must make choices that will change her life forever.


Romney Marsh, July 1940. When invasion threatens, you have to grow up quickly. Sixteen-year-old Peggy has been putting on a brave face since the fall of France, but now the enemy is overhead, and the rules are changing all the time. Staying on the right side of the law proves harder than she expects when a plane crash-lands in the Marsh: it’s Peggy who finds its pathetic, broken pilot; a young Polish man, Henryk, who stays hidden in a remote church, secretly cared for by Peggy. As something more blossoms between the two, Peggy’s brother Ernest’s curiosity peaks and other secrets come to light, forcing Peggy and Henryk to question all the loyalties and beliefs they thought they held dear. In one extraordinary summer the lives of two young people will change forever, in a tense and gripping historical drama from Lydia Syson, the author of the acclaimed A World Between Us.

The training felt very comprehensive. It has been fantastic to have had this opportunity to share experiences with other authors in a similar position and draw on such a wealth of varied experiences offered by the trainers.