Sally O’Reilly

About me

My first historical novel ‘Dark Aemilia’ is published by Myriad Editions in March 2014 and Picador US in May 2014. The novel is a fictional account of the relationship between Aemilia Lanyer, one of the first women to be published professionally as a poet in England, and William Shakespeare. My current project, commissioned by Myriad Editions, is a novel about Aphra Behn.

I’m also the author of two contemporary novels (Penguin) and a career guide for writers (Piatkus), and my short stories have been published in the UK, Australia and South Africa.

I work as a lecturer in Creative Writing at the Open University, and was awarded a PhD in English and Creative Writing by Brunel University in 2013. Previously, I worked as a journalist, freelancing for the Guardian, Sunday Times and New Scientist. I am a former Cosmopolitan New Journalist of the Year, and was shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan short story prize and the Ian St James Award.

From my website


One of the great challenges of life is to live in the moment, which is not to be confused with not taking responsibility for what happens in future moments. Writers are in the business of pinning down moments, but ironically this can mean that actual moments (and hours, days, weeks,…

Feeding the soul

I'm not much of a mind-body-spirit type of a person, though I am quite keen on yoga. There is a small part of me that still thinks I am a Bryan Ferry girl, circa 1981, and therefore anything hippyesque Must Be Shunned.  However, this is not altogether rational. And more…

Theft and juxtaposition

Okay, so this is my final handy writing tip for anyone interested in this wide-ranging genre. The last post was about reading an eclectic range of books set in the past; in this post I will go further and suggest that you can also import ideas and tropes freely from…

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