Latest Alumni Publications

Here you’ll find the latest round-up of publications written by Catz alumni. If you’ve recently published a book, or have any other news, please share it with us.

Publications are added throughout the year, find the latest whenever you like by visiting our publications page.


Dr Hilary Hamnett (1999, Chemistry)

Poisonous Tales: A Forensic Examination of Poisons in Fiction (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2023)

Dangerous, dark and difficult to detect, poisons have been a common character in literature from ancient times to the modern day. Their ability to perform deadly deeds at a distance is a common device for creating dramatic tension and playing on our real life fears. But what is fact and what is pure fiction?

From Shakespeare and Dickens to Hugo and Poe, the macabre world of literary poisonings is as large as it is fascinating. Utilising real forensic science Poisonous Tales explores the real science inspiring the toxins and tinctures in our favourite works. Could a poison really mimic death in Romeo and Juliet? What is the cause of the mad Hatter’s malady in Alice in Wonderland? And could a stone from the stomach of a goat really have been used as an antidote in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? Through these and many more ‘cases’ we discover the captivating truth in the texts and how real-life tragedies can replicate themselves in fiction.

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Dennis Harkness (1958, Geography)

Yorick, the Confessions (Amazon, 2022)

The Gravedigger is a joker. Why on Earth would Hamlet believe him? Of course it’s not Yorick’s skull! So the old jester can be alive still. His autobiography takes him through a dozen of Shakespeare’s plays – and on to ‘Hamlet Act Six’, which also is printed in this slender volume. “Brilliantly inventive” (Geraldine James); “Good fun” (M.Drabble); “Ingenious” (I.McKellen).

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Bernard Hughes (1992, Music)

Bagatelles (Divine Art, 2023)

Experience the complete works of composer Bernard Hughes for solo piano in this exceptional collaboration with pianist Matthew Mills. This eclectic collection covers over 25 years of music, featuring a range of styles and moods that are sure to captivate. From the oldest piece dating back to Hughes’ student years at Oxford to a brand new suite transforming Baroque dance forms into something surprising and new, this album is a masterpiece of composition and performance. With pieces ranging from the large-scale Strettos and Striations to little occasional pieces written for the composer’s children, there is something for everyone on this album.

What truly makes this album special is the collaboration between Hughes and Mills. The two musicians have been working together for many years, resulting in a deep understanding of each other’s artistic vision and an unparalleled ability to bring Hughes’ compositions to life on the piano. Mills himself is an accomplished composer, founder and owner of publishing company Wild Woods Music, whilst Hughes was appointed Composer-in-Residence at St. Paul’s Girls’ School after receiving his Ph.D in composition from Royal Holloway College.

Hughes’ music has been widely performed and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and across Europe. A recent commission, Birdchant, was chosen to receive its premiere by the BBC Singers at the 2021 Proms. He has composed operas, choral and vocal works, as well as piano music, to great acclaim.

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Dr Carolyne Ann Larrington (1978, English)

The Norse Myths That Shape the Way We Think (Thames & Hudson, 2023)

A fresh look at the stories at the heart of Norse mythology, exploring their cultural impact right up to the present day.

The heroes and villains of Norse mythology have endured for centuries, infiltrating art, opera, film, television and books, shape-shifting – like the trickster Loki – to suit the cultures that encountered them. Through careful analysis of the literature and archaeology of the Norse world, Carolyne Larrington takes us deep into the realm described in the Icelandic sagas, from the gloomy halls of Hel to the dazzling heights of Asgard. She expertly examines the myths’ many modern-day reimaginings, revealing the guises that have been worn by the figures of Norse myth, including Marvel’s muscled, golden-haired Thor and George R.R Martin’s White Walkers, who march inexorably southwards, bringing their eternal winter with them.

This sophisticated yet accessible guide explores how these powerful stories have inspired our cultural landscape, from fuelling the creative genius of Wagner to the construction of the Nazi’s nationalist ideology. Larrington’s elegantly written retellings capture the essence of the original myths while also delving into the history of their meanings. The myths continue to speak to such modern concerns as masculinity and environmental disaster – after the inevitable, apocalyptic ragna rök, renewal comes from the roots of Yggdrasill, the World Tree.

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Edwin John Lerner (1972, English)

Jerusalem: The Story of a Song (Chronos Books, 2022)

Jerusalem: The Story of a Song is a popular history of England’s unofficial national anthem, which began life as a poem by William Blake, was set to music by Hubert Parry and is sung every year at the Last Night of the Proms.

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Rick Thompson (1966, English)

A River Avon Year: The Wildlife and History of ‘Shakespeare’s Avon’ (Grosvenor House Publishing Limited, 2023)

This is a book about a river; its wildlife, history and folklore, and the remarkable people who have lived in the communities that have grown up on its banks. The river is the Warwickshire Avon, known as Shakespeare’s Avon, that runs 88 miles from its source in Naseby to Tewkesbury where it joins the Severn. The river flows like an artery through the heart of England, and in days gone by its waters have often run red with blood as vicious battles for the crown have played out on its banks, key moments in British history often dramatised by the Bard of Stratford.

The author follows a waymarked path along the Avon valley – The Shakespeare Avon Way – describing a short section each month, with the landscape and nature changing with the months. Along the way there are ruined abbeys, castles, medieval bridges, nature reserves, fossil remains and a host of human stories from the towns and villages that have flourished at ancient crossing points.

The writer sets himself an ambitious target for the number of different birds he can identify during the year, and reflects on the various threats to our natural environment, not least the growing impacts of climate change. The physical and mental benefits of walking in a natural setting, particularly by a river, are now well established, and were particularly valuable during the worst period of the pandemic. Research shows that a walk in the countryside cheers you up; this book will certainly cheer the reader as it takes you on a delightful English journey, with keen observation, a wealth of information, and a host of fascinating stories.

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Dr Hannah Short (1997, Human Sciences)

The Complete Guide to POI and Early Menopause (Sheldon Press, 2022)

Support for every stage of your journey through early menopause and Premature Ovarian Insufficiency.

Finding out in your teenage years or early twenties that you are menopausal can be devastating; receiving the same diagnosis in your late thirties is overwhelming; learning that you are post-menopausal while undergoing fertility treatment in your early forties may leave you blind-sided. This is not the more natural, expected hormonal transition at mid-life that other, older women experience.

The Complete Guide to POI and Early Menopause offers a road-map to navigating the emotional and hormonal rollercoaster that accompanies these diagnoses. Drawing on their own experiences and their clinical expertise, the authors bring together the latest research, insights and the voices of women themselves with a whole-body approach that prioritizes empowerment and health.

It covers:
– Causes of early menopause and POI
– When, and how, to seek a diagnosis
– Medical and surgical menopause
– Hormonal and non-hormonal treatments
– Nutrition, Lifestyle & Self-care
– Fertility
– Sexual wellbeing, relationships and self-identity
– Early menopause, education and work

Inclusive, compassionate, and featuring FAQs, guidelines and further resources, this book is the only one you will ever need if you are facing the unique challenges of menopause and POI at a stage of life when you least expected it.

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Wendy Tibbitts (2011, English Local History)

Longford: A Village in Limbo (Historio Publications, 2022)

Only the pandemic of 2020 has prevented the rural village of Longford in West Middlesex from becoming a heap of rubble. Under the plans to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport the village and all its historic buildings were due to be demolished by 2023. Now Longford’s future is uncertain, but it has a fascinating past, and this book contains stories of 300 years of village life with links to national and international events. This village was a haven for non-conformists and a refuge for highwaymen. There are stories of scandal, tragedy, and royal events, as well as enterprise and survival. The history of Longford will be forever remembered in these stories. History might be the study of the past, but events pervade the present and remain captured forever in the ambiance and fabric of a village. The story of Longford safeguards the history of the community for future generations – whatever its ultimate destiny.

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