Rebecca Birrell and Alice Hattrick in conversation

Clare Hall invites you to join authors Rebecca Birrell and Alice Hattrick in conversation about their recently published books, This Dark Country and Ill Feelings. This event is hosted by Emeritus Fellow, Dr Trudi Tate. Rebecca and Alice will discuss the subjects of their books and their innovative approaches to writing.


Friday 22 October 2021, from 3pm
Richard Eden Room, West Court, Clare Hall

This event is free and open to all, but please register in advance by emailing events@clarehall.cam.ac.uk with the email subject 'October book event'. Places are limited.

Windows will be open so that the air can circulate, so please bring a jacket if you might feel the cold.


This Dark Country (Bloomsbury, 2021), Birrell’s fascinating and thought-provoking examination of early twentieth-century women artists, still life and realms of intimacy discusses the creative world of Ethel Sands, Vanessa Bell, Dora Carrington and many more. For women artists in the early twentieth century, including Ethel Sands, Nina Hamnett, Vanessa Bell and Gwen John, this artform was a conduit for their lives, their rebellions, and their quiet loves for men and women.

Ill Feelings (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2021), Hattrick’s genre-bending debut is a moving and defiant exploration of life with a medically unexplained illness and some artists and writers who suffered from similar conditions. The cast of characters includes Virginia Woolf and Alice James, poets Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Emily Dickinson, John Ruskin’s lost love Rose la Touche, artist Louise Bourgeois and the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.


About the authors

Rebecca Birrell (pictured below) has occupied curatorial positions at the Jewish Museum London, the Department of Prints and Drawing at the British Museum and at the Charleston Trust. She recently completed her PhD at the Edinburgh College of Art. For the next year she will be Assistant Keeper of Paintings, Prints and Drawings at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Alice Hattrick (pictured above)’s criticism and interviews have appeared in publications such as frieze magazine, ArtReview and The White Review. They are the co-producer of Access Docs for Artists, a resource for disabled and/or chronically ill artists, curators and writers, made in collaboration with artists Leah Clements and Lizzy Rose. In 2016, they were shortlisted for the Fitzcarraldo Essay Prize. 


Photo credits: Jacques Testard, Sophie Davidson