Dr Anna Whitelock has won the Arts Club’s Emerging Writer of the Year award as nominated by Lady Antonia Fraser for her book ‘Mary Tudor: England’s First Queen’. Dr Whitelock, a lecturer in Early Modern British History at Royal Holloway, University of London, has also seen her book chosen as WH Smith’s Book of the Month.
The Arts Club was founded by Lord Leighton and Charles Dickens in 1863 for those connected with the Arts and Literature. Since then many eminent artists and authors have been members including Mark Twaine, Anthony Trollope and Wilkie Collins.
“It was a great honour to be nominated for the award by Antonia Fraser who is a shining light for female historians seeking to write for a popular readership. The book of the month was a great surprise but excellent to see Mary Tudor adorning the bookshelves in WH Smith′s at railway stations, airports and high streets across the country,” said Dr Whitelock. “My main aim was to move Mary′s story beyond academic conferences and seminars and into the public arena so this is a brilliant step in the right direction and book sales over the past few weeks have been very encouraging.”
‘Mary Tudor: England’s First Queen’ challenges traditional narratives of the religiously fanatic monarch known as ‘Bloody Mary’, as Dr Whitelock weaves her story of a brave and tenacious queen who is privately plagued by anxiety, illness and unrequited love.
The book has been hailed by readers for its scholarly yet accessible tone. In the ‘Mail on Sunday’, Antonia Fraser wrote, “This rollercoaster of a story is told by Whitelock with great verve and pace.” Peter Marshall adds in ‘The Times Literary Supplement’ that “Whitelock’s provocative assessment of the scale of Mary’s achievements is persuasive on a historical as well as rhetorical level.”