We know poet and novelist Sylvia Plath as one of the most celebrated voices in American literature and a figure bathed in tragedy – but what if these perceptions are wrong? It’s this idea that forms the backbone of two new texts, each presenting a fresh view of this iconic poet and author.

Connie Palmen’s Your Story, My Story breathes new life into Plath’s world by recounting a fictionalised portrayal of her love affair with fellow poet Ted Hughes. Meanwhile, Heather Clark’s biography Red Comet unearths new material that paints Plath as an unlikely figure of trailblazing hope.

With these exciting publications as our guide, join us for a digital discussion that sets out to redefine our perception of a literary legend.

Part of New Dutch Writing, and supported by the Dutch Foundation for Literature.

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About The Speakers

Heather Clark

Heather Clark is the author of three books on twentieth-century poetry, most recently Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath, which won the Biographers’ Club Slightly Foxed Award for Best First Biography and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the LA Times Book Prize in Biography. It was named a Book of the Year in several publications, including the Guardian and the Times (London). She is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at the University of Huddersfield.

Connie Palmen

Connie Palmen was born in Sint Odiliënberg, the Netherlands, and studied literature and philosophy at the University of Amsterdam. She is the author of The Laws, voted the European Novel of the Year and short-listed for the 1996 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; The Friendship, winner of the AKO Literature Prize; Lucifer; and the autobiographical novel I.M. Translations of Palmen’s work have been published in 24 countries. The English translation of her novel Your Story, My Story, based on the lives of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, was published in January 2021 by Amazon Crossings.

About The Chair

Lennie Goodings

Lennie Goodings is Chair of Virago Press. Her authors include, amongst many others, Sarah Waters, Maya Angelou, Eileen Atkins, Natasha Walter, Linda Grant and Marilynne Robinson. Her book, A Bite of the Apple: A Life with Books, Writers and Virago was published in 2020 by OUP. She won A Lifetime’s Achievement at WOW, London’s Southbank Women of the World festival in 2018.