Imaginative Pasts Keynote Lecture: Anna Sherman – ‘Creditors & the Beauty Trap: Writing Crossover Histories for a General Readership’

Date / time: 17 June, 2:00 pm - 3:45 pm

Lecture outline

How can an author turn a doctoral dissertation into a book that will engage a general readership? What can the academic historian steal from mass-market writers? In the era of TikTok, social media, and now ChatGPT, what can a human author do that artificial intelligence can’t? And what makes a history book great, anyway? Anna Sherman will consider these and other questions related to writing and reading histories in the 21st-century. She will then focus on the Beauty Trap: when descriptions of what Peter Laslett once called the ‘worlds we have lost’ slip from analysis into elegy.

Speaker biography

After studying classics at Wellesley and Oxford, and Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at the London School of Economics, Anna Sherman worked as an editor for Financial Times Energy and as an (occasional) ghost writer. In 2019 Picador published her first book, The Bells of Old Tokyo. Her work has also appeared in The Paris Review, Salon, LitHub, The Literary Review, and at T, the New York Times Travel magazine.

This lecture will take place in-person at the University of Essex. For more information and to register, please visit:

Image: Wiki CommonsCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license