‘A man at the top of his game’ – Interview

Nice piece in my hometown paper, the Eastern Daily Press, by Derek James. My mum would have loved this... Norfolk author Stephen Carver is a man at the top of his game. Some say you can’t stick your arm out in the street in Norwich without knocking over a writer. Derek James talks to one… Continue reading ‘A man at the top of his game’ – Interview

Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb – Interview

An interview with yours truly by American author and journalist Deborah Kalb... How did you learn about W.H. Ainsworth, and at what point did you decide to write a book about him? That’s a long story. I actually came across his novel, Rookwood, as a grad student in the 90s while researching the publisher Henry… Continue reading Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb – Interview

Biography of a Crime Novelist – Review by Stephen Basdeo

Extract of a review on The Author Who Outsold Dickens by Dr Stephen Basdeo Ainsworth has always been a favourite of mine. Carver’s very readable book enabled me to get to know him a little better — so often when we read a novel we have no idea of the life of the author behind… Continue reading Biography of a Crime Novelist – Review by Stephen Basdeo

Man of La Manchester

It's been a long time coming, but my new biography of the 'Lancashire Novelist' William Harrison Ainsworth, The Author Who Outsold Dickens is published in hardback today from Pen & Sword Books. Here's the Prologue... On the evening of Thursday, 15 September 1881, the man they called the ‘Lancashire Novelist’ attended a mayoral banquet in his… Continue reading Man of La Manchester

Traveller in the Poor Man’s Country

New post for the Wordsworth Blog As the freelance journalist is never off the clock, William Thackeray was, like friend and rival Charles Dickens, a born people watcher. In a short piece for Punch entitled ‘Waiting at the Station’ written in March 1850, Thackeray thus turns the everyday experience of killing time at Fenchurch Street… Continue reading Traveller in the Poor Man’s Country

G.W.M. Reynolds & Me

A new post for the G.W.M. Reynolds Society... As a child, I possessed a morbid passion for nineteenth century gothic literature. I had inherited this trait from my mother, a Catholic turned Spiritualist with a taste for true crime and horror film and fiction. My parents had me late in life and my grandparents were… Continue reading G.W.M. Reynolds & Me

The Author Who Outsold Dickens

THE AUTHOR WHO OUTSOLD DICKENS: The Life and Work of W.H. Ainsworth By Stephen Carver Published by Pen & Sword History, January 2020 Now available from Pen & Sword here William Harrison Ainsworth (1805 – 1882) is probably the most successful 19th Century writer that most people haven’t heard of. Journalist, essayist, poet and, most… Continue reading The Author Who Outsold Dickens

Duel at Chalk Farm Tavern: A Regency Tragedy

On the night of Friday, February 16, 1821, two men faced each other across the field of honour, a wooded knoll beyond the Chalk Farm Tavern near Primrose Hill, to the north of a great chase that had yet to become Regent’s Park. This had been the scene of many duels; there were no neighbouring houses, just open fields hidden from the nearest road by a screen of trees. One of the men had left half a bottle of wine at the inn, telling the landlord he would be back to finish it later.