Essex Girls: the new book by Sarah Perry

24 June 2020

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Or your local indie bookshop.

We are over the moon (and on the road to Essex) to be publishing Sarah Perry’s Essex Girls: A defence of profane and opinionated women everywhere this October.

Essex girls

In the first foray into non-fiction for Sarah Perry – who was born and raised in Chelmsford – she mounts an exhilarating feminist defence of the Essex girl and re-examines her relationship with her much maligned home county. She summons its most unquiet spirits, from Protestant martyr Rose Allin to the indomitable abolitionist Anne Knight, sitting them alongside Audre Lorde, Kim Kardashian and Harriet Martineau, and shows us that the Essex girl is not bound by geography.

Sarah Perry: ‘I have wondered all my life what it means to be an Essex girl, since it was a caricature which seemed to have little to do with me. So I went in search of the real Essex girl, and what I found made me even more proud of my birthplace – and it feels wonderful that for my first non-fiction book I went back home.’

Hannah Westland, publisher, Serpent’s Tail: ‘Perhaps because she’s a rebellious Essex girl herself, Sarah has often gifted us with fictional characters who challenge ideas about how women should behave. In this brilliantly wide-ranging and fiercely feminist essay, she embraces her native county with both arms, celebrating the many Essex girls past and present who have refused to be quiet or know their place, and helping us to see why we should all allow our inner Essex girls out with pride.’

Sarah Perry is the author of three award-winning and bestselling novels, After Me Comes the Flood (2014), The Essex Serpent (2016) and Melmoth (2018). She has been the UNESCO City of Literature writer-in-residence in Prague and a Gladstone’s Library writer-in-residence. Her work has been translated into 22 languages. The Essex Serpent was the British Book Awards Book of the Year in 2017.

Serpent’s Tail will publish Essex Girls in hardback and audio (read by Sarah Perry herself) at £7.99 on 1 October this year. Hannah Westland at Serpent’s Tail bought UK Commonwealth excluding Canada with exclusive Europe and audio rights from Jennifer Hewson at Lutyens and Rubinstein.


Twitter: @SarahGPerry1  / @SerpentsTail