Alison Light is a full-time writer. She is the author of five books of non-fiction to date and numerous other publications; she is a contributor to the London Review of Books and has written for the Guardian, the New Statesman, and the Times Literary Supplement among others. She is a Fellow of the British Academy, of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Historical Society.

She is currently an Honorary Fellow in English and History at Pembroke College, Oxford and holds honorary professorships at University College, London and Edinburgh University.

All her books have been enthusiastically reviewed in the national and international press. Mrs Woolf and the Servants (2007) was runner-up for the Longmans History Prize and long-listed for the Samuel Johnson (now the Baillie Gifford) prize in non-fiction. Common People (2014) was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize. A Radical Romance (2019) won the Pen Ackerley prize for memoir.

As the widow of the socialist historian, Raphael Samuel, who died in 1996, she spent several years helping to establish the Raphael Samuel History Centre and Archive in London.

Alison Light
(Photo: John O’Halloran)




Alison's next book Red, Red Robin: A History of Myself will be published by W and N in 2025.

A piece in Spitalfields Life on Alison's time living there: Alison Light’s Spitalfields (Feb. 2023)

Listen to Alison discuss micro- and macro-history on Radio Four Freethinking (June 2024)

Alison is co-editor of The Feminist Library, a new series for Edinburgh University Press, of essays in recent literary and cultural criticism. Her own volume, Inside History, came out in December 2021 and is available from www.edinburghuniversitypress.com

A Radical Romance  wins the PEN Ackerley 2020 prizeA Radical Romance - US cover
The PEN Ackerley Prize is the only prize in the UK for memoir and autobiography.
Now published in the U.S.A by Heliotrope

Recent podcasts

Listen to Alison talk about Agatha Christie in the US series of podcasts, All About Agatha.

Recent articles

Alison's review in The Guardian of Madeleine Bunting’s book, Labours of Love: The Crisis of Care, about care, paid and unpaid, in today's society:
Labours of Love by Madeleine Bunting review – a humbling book about care

Alison reviews Paula Byrne's The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym: A Biography
Some Sad Turtle: Spinsters and Clerics in the London Review of Books, July 2021

See Alison's reviews in the London Review of Books



Light gives our thoughts space to breathe alongside her own.
Intelligent Life Magazine, Economist

Her instincts continue to be those of the dissenter.
London Review of Books

A Radical Romance book cover

Inside History book cover



© Alison Light 2024