Katharine McMahon is the author of nine novels including the international bestseller The Rose of Sebastopol (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2008), which was shortlisted for the British book awards. Her latest novel The Woman in the Picture is a sequel to The Crimson Rooms, which concerned Evelyn Gifford, a pioneering woman lawyer in 1924 and her struggle to establish herself in a hitherto exclusively male profession. Katharine specialises in fiction set in the past, in which women are drawn from the shadows. The Alchemist’s Daughter (2005), based on the life of Voltaire’s mistress Emilie du Châtelet, was a Waterstones’ bestseller.
Katharine has been commissioned to write a Guardian ebook on historical fiction. She has contributed to Writing Historical Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2014) and regularly teaches a Guardian masterclass on historical fiction. She contributed to the RLF’s publication on the state of writing in British universities, Writing Matters, and in 2002 wrote a report on student writing in universities: What’s going on with Students’ Writing? She has written lyrics performed by Janie Dee, the lyrics and book for a musical for teenagers, Girls’ World, and is currently co-writing a musical based on the life of Joan of Arc.
Katharine McMahon is the magistrate member of the Sentencing Council for England and Wales, and a judicial appointments commissioner. She has taught for the Arvon Foundation, run national training courses for magistrates, and will teach a course for the Faber Academy in autumn 2014. She is researching a novel set in Belgium during the Second World War.