Helen Castor

b. 1968

Helen Castor was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2016.

Helen Castor is a historian of the later middle ages and sixteenth century.  She studied for her BA and PhD at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and was elected to a Research Fellowship at Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1993. In the following year she was appointed Fellow and Director of Studies in History at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Her monograph The King, the Crown, and the Duchy of Lancaster: Public Authority and Private Power, 1399-1461 was published by Oxford University Press in 2000.

She remains a Bye-Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, but since 2002 she has concentrated on writing history for a broader readership.  Her book Blood & Roses (Faber & Faber, 2004) is a biography of the fifteenth-century Paston family, whose remarkable letters are the earliest surviving collection of private correspondence in the English language. Blood & Roses was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction in 2005, and was awarded the Beatrice White Prize (for outstanding scholarly work in the field of English Literature before 1590) by the English Association in 2006. Her next two books, She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth and Joan of Arc: A History (Faber, 2010 and 2014) were also made into documentaries for BBC television. She has presented programmes for BBC Two, BBC Four, Channel 4 and BBC Radio, including Radio 4’s Making History.

Helen has one son and lives in London.


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