Kate Mosse - "I found that all these amazing women weren't in the history books"

Virgin Radio

12 Feb 2023, 08:32

The 'Labyrinth' author will be telling their stories on the stage.

Kate Mosse OBE, the beloved multi-million selling author, will embark on her first ever theatre tour later this month.

Her show, Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries: How Women (Also) Built the World, is inspired by her best-selling book of the same name, and will kick off at the Stafford Gatehouse on February 28th and be at theatres around the country until April 12th.

Kate popped into The Graham Norton Radio Show With Waitrose on Saturday to tell us more.

"The book is a celebration of some incredible women - nearly 1000 - from history," says Kate, "and it's kind of a detective story. It's also a bit about my own family history. A theatre producer just said to me one day, "Have you ever thought of doing a one woman show about this?" I hadn't, but the idea of doing an actual show, with an interval and Maltesers and Prosecco for the audience, really appealed. I love theatre, and I just thought that I'd really like to challenge myself and see if I can manage that."

Graham pushed the Labyrinth author for more details about the show.

"It's a proper all singing, all dancing show," she says. "I'm not in costume as such, but I've got all the bells and whistles. It's going to be great. There's an audio visual element to it too. One of the women in the show is the great Lily Parr, who I think is the most important English footballer ever. She scored 1000 goals between 1919 and 1956, and everyone should know her name. But if I'm going to talk about her, I want to be able to have some footage of the famous Goodison Park match in the 1920s and all of that."

She continues, "It's not a book event. That's the point. It's definitely not a book event. It starts with lightning and thunder. And there's a gravestone on the stage. Not a real one, obviously. A prop!"

Kate says that the reason why many of the women's stories in the book - and thereby the show, for which she's chosen twenty subjects to talk about - are so under-told, is because traditionally, it's men who have documented human history.

She explains, "Almost all the power of writing history was vested in in religious institutions, which women weren't in. And so in many instances I had to go digging for the truth - it's why I call it a detective story. As I discovered during lockdown, my own great grandmother was a really famous novelist. That hadn't been passed down through our family. She was called Lily Watson, and when she had a book published, the Prime Minister wrote to The Times to say "Hurrah! There's a new novel from Lily Watson!" And yet, she doesn't appear in any biographies of Victorian writers. She'd completely disappeared from the record. And I thought a woman like that can disappear. What about everybody else?"

You can find out the answer to that question by getting tickets to Kate's show here.

Listen to The Graham Norton Radio Show every Saturday AND Sunday from 9:30 am on Virgin Radio or catch up on-demand here.