Rebecca Abrams

Novelist, Non-fiction writer
Brasenose College, University of Oxford

Rebecca Abrams writes both fiction and non-fiction, loosely linked by a fascination with hidden histories, forgotten lives and unsung pioneers. Her debut novel, Touching Distance (Picador, 2008), based on the brilliant but tragic life of eighteenth-century physician Alexander Gordon, was awarded the MJA Open Book award for fiction and shortlisted for the 2009 McKitterick prize for literature. Her most recent nonfiction title, The Jewish Journey: 4000 years in 22 objects (Ashmolean, 2017), explored Jewish history through material culture, uncovering the stories behind little-known artefacts in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Her new project is a novel about early twentieth-century radicalisation set in London, Berlin and Tel Aviv.

In Woman in a Man’s World (Methuen, 1996), she examined the challenges faced by pioneering professional women in the mid-twentieth century, while The Playful Self (Fourth Estate, 2007) critiqued the ‘do-it-all’ work ethic of late-twentieth-century feminism.  Other non-fiction titles have drawn on her own experiences, including the highly-acclaimed When Parents Die: learning to live with the loss of a parent (Taylor & Francis, 2012, 3rd third edition), which was shortlisted for a MIND award.  

After reading English at Newnham College, Cambridge, Rebecca Abrams worked in publishing and then journalism for several years as a feature writer, commissioning editor and Daily Telegraph columnist. She is now a regular literary critic for the Financial Times. Passionate about helping others to write, she has taught all ages and backgrounds. She has been a tutor in creative writing at the University of Oxford since 2007.

Rebecca Abrams
Image credit: David Levenson

Fellowships

Brasenose College, University of Oxford 2018/19