“It’s like half of my brain has been removed” - UEA professor’s despair as laptop containing novel is stolen

07:49 04 June 2014

Prof Lyndsey Stonebridge of UEA

Prof Lyndsey Stonebridge of UEA

©Andi Sapey

A UEA professor has appealed for help in tracing a stolen laptop which had her new book stored on it.

Prof Lyndsey Stonebridge and her family were at home in Unthank Road, Norwich on Friday, May 30 when thieves managed to open a sash window with a tool in order to reach in and grab an MacBook which was on a desk.

Mrs Stonebridge only realised that it had been taken on the following day when she went to do some work.

She said: “It’s like half of my brain has been removed. It’s got five years’ work on it including my teaching notes, which are quite precious. It will definitely hamper my teaching, as I will have to go back and rewrite lectures.

“It also contains notes on my students, on research and human rights, and the book I’ve been working on since 2011, which is subtitled ‘refugee writing’, about refugees and literature.

“I was looking to get the book published next year, but it will probably be 2016 now. I will have to do a lot of the work again.

“While a lot of the work has been saved elsewhere, a lot of it hasn’t, so there’s a lot of archive work that I will have lost.

“The lesson is to always back up your work and not to leave things in your home near windows.”

She said the theft had also upset her two children. “They are taking exams but they could not sleep because they were worried that someone had been in the house,” she added.

Mrs Stonebridge, a professor of literature and critical theory, said the laptop’s screensaver was a painting called ‘1939 The Refugee (Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel)’ by German-Jewish surrealist painter Felix Nussbaum.

She has written three books including a work on war crimes trials entitled ‘Writing after Nuremberg’.

She joined the UEA in 1993 and specialises in modern literature and critical theory, particularly psychoanalysis, trauma theory and, most recently, critical human rights and refugee studies.

Police are appealing for witnesses after the theft, which happened between 10pm on Friday, May 30 and 1.30pm on Saturday, May 31.

Witnesses should call Det Con Katerina Hamilton at Norwich CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Has something precious been stolen from your home in the last month? Email


  • I guess they stole your hairbrush and comb too!

    Report this comment

    Nigel Chesterman

    Friday, June 6, 2014

  • Disgusted of Norwich South: ugly, trolling response. Typical keyboard warrior

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

  • ".....Educated idiot. Typical UEA....". Uneducated idiot . Typical Archant troll.

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

  • I have been burgled twice in the past 3 years, on each occasion I have lost irreplaceable items, including computers, and memory cards with photos of my father who had recently died, at no point did this newspaper report my burglary, it was only when I pointed out to them that I had been burgled that they gave me about 5 lines, I feel that if this paper had reported this I may have had some belongings returned, however I am not a lecturer at the UEA, so the fact that I have had half my life stolen is not relevant.

    Report this comment

    mr mayhem

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

  • What a pain for her. If her pupils used that excuse i'm sure she would say 'didnt you back it up??' etc etc and then give them zero mark.

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

  • I'm sorry to say it, but if you're intelligent enough to be a Professor and wealthy enough to buy a Macbook, there's no excuse for not configuring it properly to back up important files. There are enough free cloud options, iCloud for one, but also Google Drive, Dropbox and countless others. Whilst part of me hopes you do get it back, it's unlikely and you'll have learnt an important lesson in life.

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

  • I fully agree with parkeg1 you should back everything up. So easy and free on the web too. Surely if her research was that valuable she would have known to do it more often. Hope it gets returned though

    Report this comment

    Mark Thompson

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

  • That's a real sad story, all that information gone. So I hate to say it but, if anyone is reading this and has lots of stuff stored on you laptop, back it up and make it safe. Storage is so cheap these days and easy to use, so no excuses. Think about how you would feel if your work, photo's or files are suddenley gone, how would you cope.

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

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