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Author in quest to have book on Norwich’s Harriet Martineau published

07:00 10 January 2016

Stuart Hobday is writing a new book about Harriet Martineau, the 19th-century radical who was born and brought up in Norwich and became a renowned writer and campaigner.

Stuart Hobday is writing a new book about Harriet Martineau, the 19th-century radical who was born and brought up in Norwich and became a renowned writer and campaigner.

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

A new book is being written exploring the life of Norwich-born 19th-century writer and radical thinker Harriet Martineau and her links with famous figures from Charles Dickens to Florence Nightingale.

Harriet Martineau, the 19th-century radical who was born and brought up in Norwich and became a renowned writer and campaigner.Harriet Martineau, the 19th-century radical who was born and brought up in Norwich and became a renowned writer and campaigner.

The book – called Encounters with Harriet Martineau – is being penned by Stuart Hobday and is the result of 15 years of research into her life.

Born in the Magdalen Street area of Norwich in 1802, Harriet Martineau went on to become famous on both sides of the Atlantic for writing about the political and economic issues of her day.

She campaigned for everything from economic fairness to women’s rights to the abolition of slavery and is said to be the world’s first female journalist.

Along the way she met many key figures of her time and this is the focus of Mr Hobday’s book.

“I wanted to portray the real human stories of her life and have devoted a chapter each to her encounters and relationships with other 19th-century luminaries including Darwin, Dickens, George Eliot, Charlotte Bronte, Florence Nightingale and others, many of whom she infused with defiant courage and determination for social change,” said Mr Hobday, 49, who lives in the north of the city and used to be the director of the Norwich Arts Centre.

“It will hopefully be a good read for anyone interested in the 19th century and it will help Martineau get some of the historical credit she deserves.”

Mr Hobday’s book has now been selected by Unbound, a publisher and funding platform, for an online crowdfunding campaign where people are asked to support the publication of the book by pledging a donation online in return for various rewards.

In total Mr Hobday needs to raise about £3,500 by mid February to realise his ambition to have his book published.

To make a donation to support Mr Hobday’s book, visit https://unbound.co.uk/books/encounters-with-harriet-martineau

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