The creative writing tutor pens her first novel, The Anchoress.
Robyn Cadwallader has published numerous, prize-winning short stories and reviews, as well as poetry and non-fiction. She has previously taught creative writing and English literature at university, with a special interest in medieval literature. She lives among vineyards outside Canberra, Australia when not travelling to England for research, visiting ancient archaeological sites along the way.
Her fascination with the past, in particular all things medieval, is evident in her debut novel. Set in the twelfth century, The Anchoress tells the story of Sarah, a seventeen year old who chooses to become an anchoress, a holy woman shut away in a small cell at the side of the village church. Fleeing the grief of losing a much-loved sister in childbirth and the pressure to marry, she decides to renounce the world, with all its dangers, desires and temptations, and to commit herself to a life of prayer and service to God. But even the thick, unforgiving walls of her cell cannot keep the outside world away.
The Anchoress may sound small in setting but the novel is universal in its themes, telling an absorbing story of faith, desire, shame, fear and the very human need for connection and touch. The Anchoress is both mesmerising and thrillingly unpredictable.