Radiation Diaries: Cancer, Memory and Fragments of a Life in Words

After a life of reading and writing, what does it feel like to be deprived of both, to be thrown back only on what’s in your head? The literary snippets that emerge into Todd’s consciousness during a month of radiation are sometimes apt, often ludicrous. They draw her back into childhood in Wales, Bermuda, Ceylon when literature functioned as friend and escape, to her unquiet past in sixties Ghana, then America at the dawn of the rights movements. Her father, nearing 100, is caught in the same ‘hospital-land’: both learn the selfishness of sickness and both respond by telling stories. Janet Todd’s new publication now available in the UK from all good bookshops (July 2018 by Fentum Press).

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Paperback July 2018

 Praise for Radiation Diaries

“Janet Todd’s pain-filled interweaving of life and literature is a good book written against the odds – it is frank, wry and unexpectedly heartening.” Hilary Mantel

“Beautifully written, viscerally honest, horribly funny.”  Miriam Margolyes

“Janet Todd turns her renowned literary intelligence to her experience as a cancer patient. Original, forceful and often funny, there is no other cancer diary like it.  The book’s clear-eyed detail is a reminder that indignity, pain and fear do not diminish memory, imagination or the self.”  Terri Apter, psychologist and author of Passing Judgment: Praise and Blame in Everyday Life.

“Candid, courageous and often horribly amusing. I winced and laughed in equal measure.” Salley Vickers, author of Miss Garnet’s Angel and The Librarian

“I read it avidly, unable to stop. I love the voice, especially the tension between restraint and candour in its brevities and yet endearingly warm and honest. It’s an original voice and utterly convincing in its blend of confession, quirkiness, humour, intimacy. It’s nothing short of a literary masterpiece, inventing a genre. A delight too is the embeddedness of books in the character of a lifelong reader; it is fascinating to learn of Todd’s fascinating variegated past. How gallant (like the verbal gallop against mortality at the close of The Waves).” Lyndall Gordon, author of Virginia Woolf: A Writer’s Life; Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and her Family’s Feuds and Outsiders: Five Women Who Changed the World


 Aphra Behn: A Secret Life

The life, work and history of Aphra Behn: seventeenth century dramatist, poet of the erotic and bisexual, novelist, political propagandist and spy. Janet Todd’s new publication now available in the UK from all good bookshops (June 2017 by Fentum Press).

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Paperback June 2017


A Man of Genius

A Man of Genius portrays a psychological journey from safety into obsession and secrecy. It mirrors a physical journey from flamboyant Regency England through a defeated Europe struggling to create a new order after the upheavals of the Napoleonic conquests.

Ann, an author of cheap Gothic novels, becomes obsessed with Robert James, regarded by many, including himself, as a genius; she is captivated by his Romantic ideas, his talk, and his band of male followers. The pair leaves London for occupied Venice, where Ann tries to cope with the monstrous ego of her lover. The relationship grows tortuous as Robert descends into violence and near madness. Forced to flee with a stranger, she delves into her past, to be jolted by a series of revelations— about her lover, her parentage, the stranger and herself.

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