Interesting Lives

It is difficult for a man to speak long of himself without vanity; therefore, I shall be short. – David Hume, My Own Life

Exciting news from Blackwater Press! We’re about to launch a new book series, and we need your collaboration.

Interesting Lives is our forthcoming series of non-fiction (autobiographies, memoirs, letters, and life writing) from the so-called long eighteenth century, c. 1650-1820.

During our researches, we have come across many incredible individuals who led extraordinary lives, and experienced in a few short decades things that would personally take us three lifetimes to go through. Many of these people, though, are virtually unknown today, and we believe they are fascinating enough to be of much greater interest. Maybe these stories have remained tucked away in dusty attics in manuscript form (oh what exciting finds those are!); maybe they have been published in uninformed versions and left to be forgotten. Maybe they just feature in a footnote as a by-the-way, when really they deserve a whole book to themselves.

We’re here to salvage these stories from oblivion.

History, after all, is made up of stories: the stories of the people, who lived in the midst of all this change and unrest.

Why do we need your collaboration? Because although we have ideas about some of these lives, many are still out there waiting to see the light. Maybe you know of an archive holding obscure manuscripts; maybe your grandmother’s attic has a stack of letters no one has had the heart to throw away because they contain some incredible stories about someone’s life; maybe your heart is sore when you see a terrible edition of an otherwise fascinating autobiography; maybe your PhD research deals with one such Interesting Life and you have great plans for it.

We’re the people for you.

Below is a list of some Interesting People whose lives we would love to have better-known, but we are open to considering any life writing from the long eighteenth century that you believe deserves a new edition.

Mme. De la Toule * Frances, Lady Vane * Teresia Constantia Phillips * Laetitia Pilkington * Catherine Jemmat * Mrs. Coghlan (Margaret Moncrieffe) * Mrs. Billington * John Clerk of Penicuik * Alison Cockburn * Charlotte Charke * Johann Joachim Quantz * Franz Benda * Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf * Sarah Osburn * Frederika, Baroness Riedesel * Elizabeth Drinker * Anna Green Winslow * Sarah Wister * Grace Growder Galloway * Lady Murray of Stanhope * Lady Grange’s letters from St Kilda * Henriette Campan * Any Native American or slave narrative that isn’t already available * Matthew Arbuckle * James Erskine, Lord Grange * John MacDonald the travelling footman * Lady Anne Barnard * John Home * Rev. Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk * Elizabeth Carter * Mme d’Aulnoy * Charles Perrault * Flora MacDonald

Please write to Vivien and Elizabeth at with the subject line Interesting Lives to discuss your ideas. We can’t wait to hear from you.

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