Flora Fraser, Georgian Papers Programme Mount Vernon Fellow Lecture: ‘In Search of Flora Macdonald’
Date(s) - 23/01/2019
With the welcome aid of a 2018 Mount Vernon Georgian Papers Fellowship, historical biographer Flora Fraser spent two months researching in the Georgian Papers in the Royal Archives and one in the Fred W. Smith Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon. Her lecture focuses on her Fellowship research in each place, which has greatly informed the Biography of Flora Macdonald, Scottish heroine of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion and, after, North Carolina immigrant and loyalist in the American Revolution, which she is currently writing. She will also touch on the stimulus her work on either side of the Atlantic has given to a future Life of Lord Nelson, which she is planning.
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While at St Paul’s Girls’ School, London, and at Wadham College, Oxford, where she read Greats (1977 – 81), Flora Fraser worked as a researcher to a number of writers. She has been a professional writer herself ever since leaving Oxford. Her early books number: a romantic thriller, DOUBLE PORTRAIT, in a series called Nightshades: The Darker Side of Love (1983); MAUD: THE DIARIES OF MAUD BERKELEY (1985); an illustrated HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH GENTLEWOMAN (1987); and a classical novel, TAMGAR (1990).
Flora is the author of four historical biographies. They are BELOVED EMMA: THE LIFE OF EMMA, LADY HAMILTON (1986), THE UNRULY QUEEN: THE LIFE OF QUEEN CAROLINE (1996), PRINCESSES: THE DAUGHTERS OF GEORGE III (2004), and PAULINE BONAPARTE: VENUS OF EMPIRE (2009).
Flora’s latest book, GEORGE & MARTHA WASHINGTON: A REVOLUTIONARY MARRIAGE was published by Bloomsbury in November 2015. The US edition, titled THE WASHINGTONS: GEORGE AND MARTHA, “JOIN’D BY FRIENDSHIP, CROWN’D BY LOVE” was published by Knopf and won the prestigious George Washington prize 2016. She is currently working on a new biography of Flora MacDonald which will be published by Bloomsbury in the UK and Knopf in the US.
Flora was a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery (1999 – 2008). She also served for three years as a member of the Friends of the National Libraries Executive Committee (1999 – 2002), and was a Costa Literary Awards judge in 2011. Since 2011 she has been a member of Wadham Development Council, Oxford. In 2003 she co-founded, with Peter Soros, the Elizabeth Longford Prize and Grants for Historical Biography in affectionate memory of her grandmother, the noted biographer. Since 2005 Flora has been a member of The Literary Society, founded 1807.
She is a Patron of freeopenairtheatre.org and is a member of the Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History judging committee for the second year running.