I went to the Crime Writers Association Awards this week, as House at Baker Street had been nominated for an Historical Dagger (I didn’t win, but given the high standard of the other nominees, I’m just amazed I made the shortlist)

I wanted to see and possibly meet some of my favourite writers whilst I was there, but I realised something as soon as I walked.

I didn’t know what any of them looked like.

I’ve seen publicity photos, but no one looks like their publicity photo. I don’t look like mine except in a very flattering light.

Everyone was very chatty and friendly, but the more I looked around, the more I realised the people chatting were publicists and editors and publishers.

Remember last week when I got so angry about Elena Ferrante’s identity being revealed? I think even when we write under own names, we’re still invisible. We can walk down a street and no one knows who we are. We can sit in an awards ceremony, nominated and unless we win, no one knows who we are.

I think we need this. I think we need to be in the background. That way we can watch. No one performs for us. No one tries to be their best for us. They just are, and we watch, and then write.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street


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