Alumnae authors

St Anne's College is proud to have so many alumnae who have gone on to be successful authors. If you have written a book that you would like us to include here, please send us an e-mail with details and a scan of the jacket. We also have an alumnae publications section in the Library, and all authors are welcome to send us their books for inclusion. 

Denise Bates (Modern History, 1978)

Denise is a Modern History graduate, who found digitised newspapers an invaluable source of unexplored material when researching her first two books, Pit Lasses (Wharncliffe Books, 2012) and Breach of Promise to Marry (Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 2014). With the news currently a hot topic, Historical Research Using British Newspapers (Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 2016) outlines the newspaper industry in Britain from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century and provides plenty of practical advice about using newspapers as sources. More information about Denise, her writing and her research is available at



Stewart Cowley (DPhil Physical Sciences, 1982)

Stewart Cowley is a regular columnist for the Sunday Telegraph and the financial magazine Citywire. He is also a regular guest on BBC's Newsnight, Radio 4 and SKY News. After reading metallurgy to doctoral level, Stewart has worked in finance in New York and London since the 1980s. His book Man Vs Money (Aurum Press, 2016) distils the complexities as to how money and economics govern our world in this guide to modern-day money and our relationship with it. Along the way, discover how the statistics that govern our world are based on guesswork, why stock markets are like a wandering drunken man, what you need to live like a millionaire and why cooking has made man the dominant species on the planet. His new book Man Vs Big Data is due for publication in September of 2017.



Catherine Chanter (English Language and Literature, 1977) 

Catherine Chanter‘s haunting first novel The Well, published by Canongate, is set in a near-future Britain where it has not rained for two years, the drought bringing social unrest to the entire country. The only place remaining inexplicably fertile is The Well, Mark and Ruth’s country home. The Well was a Richard & Judy book club pick, was long-listed for the CWA John Creasey (new blood) dagger 2015 and has sold in 12 countries. Catherine’s second novel is The Half-Sister, a compelling portrayal of a family imprisoned by the past and their struggle to find the words that will release them.  It will be published by Canongate in April 2018.

Catherine has written for BBC Radio 4 and has had short stories and poetry published in a wide range of anthologies and publications. She has a Masters, with distinction, in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. Besides being an author, Catherine has led education provision within the NHS for young people with significant mental health problems and currently works for One-Eighty, an Oxford charity which seeks to engage excluded and vulnerable children and teenagers in learning.



Susan Foreman (Kremer 1957)

After Oxford (1957-60) Susan had a succession of jobs – advertising copywriter, Librarian at Reading University and the Board of Trade, before becoming Publications Officer at the DTI and later Librarian of the Office of Fair Trading.  In 1985, she wrote an Illustrated history of the Board of Trade for the Bicentenary in 1986, Shoes and Ships and Sealing-Wax: an illustrated history of the Board of Trade 1786-1986.  Later came other books on Whitehall, notably From Palace to power: an illustrated history of Whitehall. (1995), and later with Diana Wolfin she worked on courses for helping women returners get back to work. Susan Foreman has documented Felix Aprahamian’s remarkable life in music, including a full transcript of his detailed 1930s musical diary for which Susan wrestled with over 200 pages of closely written manuscript original. This book was jointly produced with Susan’s husband Dr Lewis Foreman, and they also wrote, among other books London: a musical gazetteer (Yale, 2005). 



Robert Gardner (Geography, 1997)

Pensions consultancy founder Robert Gardner has a passion for financial wellbeing. Robert sits on the board of the Children’s Savings Council, and Save Your Acorns was inspired by a strong interest for financial education. Teaching children the value of saving through berries, bananas and bears, Robert’s book has received wide acclaim for its approachable, and practical, financial narrative. In a recent interview with Financial Times Fund Management Robert confirmed he is planning to write another book, this time with a shark as the main character, exploring the problems of getting into debt. Robert Gardner is the founder of Redington, sponsors of the St Anne’s Boat Club.



Kersten Hall (Biochemistry, 1988-1992)

Having worked for several years as a molecular biologist, Kersten Hall finally hung up his white coat and swapped the laboratory for the library to write about an unsung scientific pioneer whose role in one of the biggest discoveries of the 20th century - the structure of DNA, the molecule of heredity - has gone largely unnoticed.  His book The Man in the Monkeynut Coat (Oxford University Press, 2014)  tells the story of William Astbury, who pioneered the use of X-ray methods to study the giant biological molecules such as proteins and DNA from which living organisms are made. The book was shortlisted for the 2015 British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) Dingle Prize ( chosen by Professor Stephen Curry of Imperial College, London as one of the 'Books of 2014' for 'The Guardian' newspaper ( Kersten is currently an Honorary Fellow in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science at the University of Leeds where, with the BSHS, he is currently researching a new book about the discovery of insulin. For more information, see



Thomas W. Hodgkinson (Literae Humaniores, 1994)

Thomas W. Hodgkinson is a journalist and author. His first book, the exuberant horror novel Memoirs of a Stalker (Silvertail Books, 2016), is about a man who hides for months in his ex-girlfriend’s home, spying on her. His second, How to be Cool (Icon Books, 2016), is an account of how the concept of coolness arose in the 20th century via a survey of the coolest people and ideas of the century. The American satirist P.J. O’Rourke described it as “a cool book". Thomas also writes a film page for The Week magazine, book reviews for The Spectator and travel pieces for the Daily Mail. You can read more about his work and publications here

Elisabeth Jay (English Language and Literature, 1966)

Elisabeth Jay (neé Aldis), Professor Emerita at Oxford Brookes, and member of the Oxford English Faculty, has published widely on Victorian literature, specialising in women’s writing, and editing a number of Victorian texts. British Writers in Paris shines a light on the fascination and repulsion with which a host of authors viewed a neighbouring capital which offered a distinctively different urban experience from that of London. Elisabeth lives in Oxford, where her daughter and son survived their upbringing. She continues to write and lecture, and has recently become governor of a local school. For more information on Elisabeth’s work and specialisms, please click here.



Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang (1985)

Rhiannon is a British writer whose work focuses on historical fault lines and contains strong international themes. She read Oriental Studies at St Anne’s College, Oxford, and is a non-practising lawyer. She speaks Mandarin and Cantonese. The Last Vicereine (September 2017) is set in the spring of 1947 when Lord and Lady Mountbatten arrived in New Delhi. India was on the brink of civil war. The reluctant Vicereine was a rebel, a rule-breaker. She was a troubled soul, a great beauty, a firecracker. But there was more to Edwina than met the eye. The glamour was a façade; behind it was a highly intelligent woman of influence and power. Set amid the turmoil of Partition, The Last Vicereine is a heartbreaking story of the birth of two nations, of love, grief, tragedy, inhumanity and the triumph of hope.



Rachel Larkinson (Classics, 1964)

Rachel Larkinson (née Newton) grew up in Lincolnshire and studied Classics at St Anne’s from 1964 to 1968. She trained and worked as a teacher in England and Sierra Leone, before becoming a minister in the Methodist Church. The book, College, Chapel and Culture in Edwardian Manchester, is based on a diary kept by her grandfather in 1902 during his first  term at college in Manchester, training for the Methodist ministry. Aspects of college life, the city environment and the cultural experience, seen through the eyes of one who grew up in Norfolk, are explored. The book is available from 



Annabel Leventon (English, 1961)

Annabel Leventon is an actress, singer, and writer. She first won a scholarship to St Anne's and paid her way through her studies by singing with a dance band. Nominated as ‘Actress of the Year’ for her lead role in the original London production of rock musical Hair! she went on to form, with fellow actresses Gaye Brown and Diane Langton, the first and only three-girl rock group in England, Rock Bottom… The rest is showbiz history. Since then she has played many times in the West End, including Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell (with Peter O’Toole), The Dresser, (directed by Sir Peter Hall) and Noel and Gertie. She has also had many TV and film roles such as M Butterfly (directed by David Cronenburg) and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Real Rock Follies: The Great Girl-band Rip-off of 1976 is the true story of how an unknown girl band created a rock juggernaut and had it snatched away. They battled for justice against the big boys, stood up against betrayal, theft, and treachery and lived to tell the tale - just.



Dominic Lutyens (Modern Languages, 1981)

Living with Mid-Century Collectibles provides a detailed history of mid-century modern design. It analyses why this disparate and international yet recognisable style flourished from the 1930s to the early 1970s, and explores its key characteristics. It includes a practical section on where to buy it, and suggests tips for collectors. 

In addition, Dominic has co-authored the books 70s Style & Design and Celia Birtwell, a book about textile designer Birtwell’s life and work. He is a freelance arts and design journalist, who writes for the Guardian, Financial Times and Elle Decoration, among other titles. Dominic has also lectured on design and fashion at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Central St Martins and London College of Fashion. Find out more about his work on his website.



Kaori O'Connor (Social Anthropology, 1968)

Kaori O’Connor, winner of the prestigious international Sophie Coe Prize for Food History 2009, has written Seaweed: A Global History. The first general, popular culinary history of seaweed to be published, it explores historical global uses of seaweed as the food source fast becomes fashionable. Kaori debunks social associations of seaweed, and offers an insight into the cultural history, culinary or otherwise. Kaori is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology, University College London. Her other publications include The English Breakfast: A Biography (2013)Pineapple: An Edible History (2013), and The Never-Ending Feast: The Anthropology and Archaeology of Feasting (2015). She has appeared on The Great British Bake Off, Hairy Bikers, and Woman’s Hour. You can read more about Kaori here



Jancis Robinson (Mathematics and Philosophy, 1968)

Jancis Robinson is widely known by the epithet "the most respected wine critic in the world". The 24-Hour Wine Expert is designed for beginners, and aims to provide everything you need to know about wine in 100 pages. This shortcut to expertise is a guide for those who like wine but don't know much about it, and includes information on food pairing, costs, and even indications about what your wine choice says about you. Other recent books from Jancis include The Oxford Companion to Wine 4th Edition, World Atlas of Wine 7th Edition, Wine Grapes and American Wine. Jancis's online Mastering wine course for beginners is available via, where you can read more about Jancis’s work and publications.



Marilyn Palmer (Modern History, 1962)

Marilyn Palmer, Britain’s first Professor of Industrial Archaeology, has co-authored Technology in the Country House. Urban 19th century technical inventions in houses such as boilers, flushing water closets, and pipes for central heating, were often not found in their rural counterparts. Marilyn explores the motivations for country house-dwellers to adapt to these inventions, and the impact on buildings and occupants. Marilyn was a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow in the Country House Technology Project, University of Leicester, undertook an All Souls Visiting Fellowship in 2006, and holds a 2015 MBE for services to industrial archaeology and heritage. You can read more about Marilyn’s work here and more about her publications here



Sally Percy (Modern History, 1994)

Sally is a Modern History graduate, and now a Business and Finance journalist, editor and commentator. In her book Reach the Top in Finance, Sally navigates the rungs and mazes of a career in finance to give individuals support on reaching the top in what is still a highly competitive industry. Skills sets are carefully outlined, and merits beyond numerical literacy explored, while interviews with CFOs, leaders at accountancy firms, recruiters and head-hunters provide an insight into how to become a respected CFO or senior partner.




Joan Shenton, 1961

In 1981 Shenton founded Meditel Productions, an independent production company specialising in science and medical controversies and has produced over 150 programmes for network television. Meditel has won seven television awards and was the first independent company ever to win a Royal Television Society Award (RSM International Current Affairs Journalism Award, Dispatches - Aids the Unheard Voices - Channel 4, 1988).  The research from these programmes led to Shenton’s book Positively False – Exposing the myths around HIV and AIDS (I.B.Tauris 1998). In 2015 the book was republished as a paperback and e-book in a 16th anniversary edition with 20 updates from scientists and writers. Find out more at



Sue Smart (Modern History, 1970)

Formerly a teacher of history and classical civilisation at Gresham’s School, Sue looks back on the school members who went to fight during the First World War in When Heroes Die (Breedon Books Publishing Co Ltd, 2001) . Described as ‘beautiful’ and ‘thought-provoking’, the book captures the lasting impact of the war on the school, and especially on the Headmaster, George Howson.




Frances Ware known as Marion Leigh (1968) 

Marion Leigh was born in Birmingham, England. After receiving her MA in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford, she worked for a year as a volunteer in Indonesia before moving to Canada where she enjoyed a successful career as a financial and legal translator. Marion divides her time between Europe and North America. She loves boating and living close to the water. In addition to the Petra Minx novels, she has published two e-books: a collection of risqué poetry entitled To Love Sex and Cunning Linguistics, and Rosie Aims High, a children’s story about a racoon. The Politician’s Daughter is the first book in Marion Leigh’s series of adventure thrillers featuring Marine Unit Sergeant Petra Minx of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The second novel in the series, Dead Man’s Legacy, was published in 2015. The third, April in Africa, is due to be published soon.



Ellen Wiles (Music, 2000)

Ellen is a novelist, whose debut, The Invisible Crowd (Harper Collins, 2017) delves behind the immigration headlines to explore an asylum seeker's experience in the UK, inspired by a case she worked on as a barrister and voluntary work with refugees. Her first book, Saffron Shadows and Salvaged Scripts: Literary Life in Myanmar Under Censorship and in Transition (Columbia University Press, 2015) combines new translations of Burmese literature and interviews with the writers. Since being awarded the Gibbs Prize for Music at Oxford, Ellen has gained two Masters degrees: the first in Human Rights Law from UCL and the second in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, which she studied for alongside her work as a barrister. Having left the law to focus on writing, Ellen is currently doing a literary anthropology PhD researching live literature alongside her fiction writing, and directs an experimental live literature project called Ark involving collaborations with music and other art forms. She still plays the flute, though mostly these days to entertain her two toddlers.



Jude Woodward (Modern History, 1972)

After Oxford Jude worked in journalism, then in various roles in the field of politics, including as an advisor the Mayor of London from 2000-08. In this capacity she was responsible for the London offices in Beijing and Shanghai. After 2008 she regularly lectured in the business school at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and at other Chinese institutions. Her book, The US vs China: Asia’s new Cold War, grew out of her study of Chinese politics and foreign policy in this period. China’s rise is already tearing up the established contours of post-1945 international relations. The global changes underway are throwing up fundamental questions: Can US hegemony prevail? Are the US and China caught in a contemporary ‘Thucydides trap’ that will inevitably lead to war? Does China's rise threaten the stability of Asia? In this accessible yet rigorous book, Jude challenges conventional preconceptions about the implications of China's rise and suggests that with US global influence declining, China offers hope for the future.