Laura Bates on bookmarks and what author she’d like to meet

Article | Issue: Jan 2024

In LAURA BATES’ latest book, Sisters of the Sword and Shadow, she asks what if the Knights of the Round Table had a female counterpart? Good Reading for Young Adults  asked the author what’s she reading now and what book character she’s like to be.


What are you reading now?

Currently reading Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros and Wedded Wife: A Feminist History of Marriage by Rachael Lennon, and thoroughly enjoying both, which gives you an idea of how eclectic my reading and writing tastes are!


If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only have five books – what would they be?

A Necklace of Raindrops by Joan Aiken

The Complete Works of Shakespeare

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Waves by Virginia Woolf

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath


Where is your favourite place to read?

In bed!


Do you read one book at a time or multiple?

Multiple! I write and work in both fiction and non-fiction so I usually have two books on the go at any one time, both that I am reading and also writing!


Do you use a bookmark or fold the corners of pages?

Fold corners. I think books are living things that it’s OK to shape and mark just as they shape and mark us!


What inspired your new novel Sisters of Sword and Shadow?

I love the richness and exhilaration of Arthurian legends and wanted to reimagine that world from a feminist perspective. I absolutely loved the idea that there might have been a fellowship of women knights and the only reason we’ve never heard of them is that none of the men they defeated ever told a soul.


What was your favourite experience while writing Sisters of Sword and Shadow?

Learning to joust, sword fight and shoot arrows! I went to the international school of riding in Warwickshire and had the most incredible experience doing so many things that were completely outside my comfort zone. Putting myself in my characters’ shoes (or saddle!) made such a difference to the detail and texture of the scenes in the book where Cass, a young woman from a sheltered upbringing, allows herself to step into the mysterious power she finds inside herself for the first time.


Do you have a favourite Arthurian story?

I’m endlessly fascinated by the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.


What book character would you be, and why?

I’d like to be a little like Jo March – headstrong, stubborn, hot tempered and very resistant to patriarchal rules!


If you could meet one author (living or dead) – who would it be and why?

I would love to meet Virginia Woolf, for reasons too obvious to list!

Visit Laura Bates’ website

Author: Laura Bates

Category: Children's, Teenage & educational

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's UK

ISBN: 9781398533530

RRP: $24.99

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