Sarah Wise
‘A haunting blend of scholarship and period empathy:’ Iain Sinclair, Daily Telegraph

‘The least smug and self-congratulatory book ever written on 19th-century slum life:’ Matthew Sweet, Sunday Times

Winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction

Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction

Hear my talk at the Museum of London here
  ‘This is a book about the nature of London itself:’ Peter Ackroyd, The Times

‘A brilliant social history:’ Robert Peston, Daily Telegraph

‘This engrossing work shines a light not only on a turbulent period of London’s history but on humanity itself. Only the best histories can claim as much:’ Clare Clark, The Guardian

Shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize

Hear my interview with BBC History Magazine here
  ‘Deeply researched and gripping...Much of it is also hilarious:’ AN Wilson, Mail on Sunday

‘She has the true social historian’s ability to make her period come alive:’ Dr Anthony Daniels, The Spectator

Shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize

Hear my interview on BBC Radio
’s All In The Mind here

and on Little Atoms radio here

You can find me on Twitter here @MissSarahWise


To celebrate the launch of her book, I’ll be talking with Dr Elizabeth Foyster about attitudes to mental health in the 18th and 19th centuries on Monday 26 Sept at the Owl Bookshop in Kentish Town, North London. The Trials of the King of Hampshire is about a notorious early 19th-century lunacy ‘inquisition’ and its aftermath. Details here

I’ll be conducting an all-day Inner Circle Seminar (part of Anthony Stadlen’s ‘Locked Up’ seminar series) on Sunday 9 October 2016, 10am to 5pm. I'll explore the case of Rosina Bulwer Lytton, and its impact on 19th-century mental health administration. Central London. Rather pricey (soz). Full details here

I’ll be talking about late-19th-century East London poverty at the 2016 Write Idea Festival at 5.30pm on Saturday 12 November in Whitechapel.

I'll be speaking about the Old Nichol district on Sunday 6 November at 10.45am at the Arbor Hotel, Osborn Street, London E1. Full details here:

On Wednesday 7 December I’ll be speaking as part of the Charles Booth commemorations at the London School of Economics. Free. My talk, ‘Streets Coloured Black and Blue’, explores the use I made of the Booth notebooks for my book The Blackest Streets. Free.


Recent Journalism

● I’ve just posted an essay about Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent on the London Fictions site

● My latest post on the Psychology Today site is about whether the Victorian asylum allowed the wealthy to evade justice

Other Psychology Today posts consider the earliest days of Broadmoor Hospital/Asylum for the Criminally Insane;
Charlotte Bronte and Bertha Mason;
Victorian wives who had sane husbands certified as lunatics;
Wilkie Collins’s novel The Woman in White(1860);
the UK’s past and current mistreatment of the mentally ill;
how religious enthusiasm could lead to an accusation of lunacy;
and the Victorian diagnosis ‘monomania’.