Frances Wilson (writer)

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Frances Wilson (born 1964) is an English author and critic.


Born in Malawi, she attended The Mount School, York and received a degree in English Literature from St Hugh's College, Oxford. She received a PhD on Henry James and Freud from Sussex University. She taught English Literature at Reading University for ten years, (having previously taught at The University of Greenwich), leaving in 2005 to pursue a freelance career.[1]


Wilson is author of five books:

  • Literary Seductions: Compulsive Writers and Diverted Readers (Faber, 1999)
  • The Courtesans's Revenge: Harriette Wilson, the Woman Who Blackmailed the King (Faber, 2003)
  • The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth (Faber, 2008) Winner of the British Academy's Rose Mary Crawshay Prize[2]
  • How To Survive the Titanic; or The Sinking of J Bruce Ismay (Bloomsbury, 2011) Winner of the Elizabeth Longford Prize for historical biography, 2012[3])
  • Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey (Bloomsbury, 2016)

She has written introductions to

  • Henry James, A Small Boy and Others: Childhood Memoirs (Gibson Square Books, 2001)
  • Henry James, The Wings of the Dove (Folio Society, 2005)
  • Henry James, The Ambassadors (Folio Society, 2006)
  • The Adventures of Casanova (Folio Society, 2007)
  • Daniel Defoe, Roxanna (Folio Society, 2010)
  • Thomas Bernhard My Prizes: An Accounting (Notting Hill Editions, 2012)

She reviews for the TLS[4] and The Daily Telegraph,[5] and has been a judge for the Whitbread Biography Prize, and the Man Booker Prize. She has been writer in residence at Somerset House and UCL, teaches a UEA/Guardian Masterclass in Biography and has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature since 2009.


  1. ^ &#8250 Frances Wilson. "Literary Seductions: Compulsive Writers and Diverted Readers: Frances Wilson: 9780312261931: Books". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  2. ^ "Rose Mary Crawshay Prize 2009 - British Academy". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  3. ^ "Elizabeth Longford | Society of Authors - Protecting the rights and furthering the interests of authors". Society of Authors. Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  4. ^ "'Criminal' Mrs Norton". TLS. Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  5. ^ Book Reviews. "The Beautiful Child by Emma Tennant: review". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-07-01.