Linda Proud

Location: Oxford, Oxfordshire
About me...

I combined a career as a freelance picture researcher with writing an award-winning series of novels set in the Italian Renaissance. With the digital revolution, however, I gave up picture research and began teaching creative writing, mostly to American students studying at Oxford. Now I write full time and have turned my attention to ancient Britain. I live with my husband on the outskirts of Oxford and when I’m not mooching about archaeological pits, I’m digging on the allotment or filling in the holes our chickens make in what was once our back garden.

About my Talks...

Over the years I’ve gained experience as a speaker by giving many talks on Renaissance topics to groups/events such as Temenos Academy, Jupiter Trust, Institute for Italian Art, Portraying the Divine and Art in Action.

Talks on ancient Britain, however, tend to appeal to more local groups interested in the lumps and bumps of their own landscape.

I can illustrate the talk with a Powerpoint presentation (images only – no text or bullet points on the screen). I bring my own computer but need a projector. However, the talk can be given without illustrations. I find this subject appeals to all ages, but especially to those with an interest in local history. It lasts 45 minutes, with 15 minutes for questions, but can be more or less as required. I like to bring copies of my novels for sale at a discounted price.


FEE: £80 plus 35p per mile within the counties of Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Sussex.

My Contact Details:

01865 556216



What lies beneath our feet? Our local museums tell us about the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, the medieval Christians, but what about life here before the Romans? Often there is one dimly-lit gallery of archaeological finds of a people and culture we have lost touch with but who DNA show to be our ancestors.

Chariot of the Soul, set on the eve of the Roman invasion, covers the territory of the Atrebates (Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire) and the neighbouring Dobunni (Gloucestershire).

Many natural features on the landscape were associated with local deities and treated as sacred, so expect mention of hillforts, lakes, rivers and springs in the locality. This part of the talk leads us into the subject people tend to find fascinating: the ancient druids.

I always consult the archaeologists but, as a novelist, I don’t have the luxury of saying ‘I don’t know’. In the absence of information, I have to make it up, but I strive for authenticity. Putting names to people, conjuring lives, I try to evoke a past largely forgotten by us because it is pre-history, which is to say, pre-writing. Ancient Britain, its warrior kings, druid priests and strange gods, lies buried under many of our towns. My archaeology, based on material finds, includes burrowing into folklore and myths: it is archaeology of the imagination.


I am often asked to feature something specifically local, and to tailor the talk to it. I’m very happy to do this. Recently I’ve been asked to imagine Guildford in the first century, and to talk about a lump of pottery kiln in the possession of an Oxford school. These talks invite participation and, when the audience chip in with what they know, the evenings can become a magical froth of folklore and ancient memories.



In this talk I explain the eightfold division of the year through the seasons of the lunar calendar and show how it sits with the Christian calendar.

Requires Powerpoint.

Bespoke Town and County Talks - Who was here before the Romans?

Look up most towns in Wikipedia and the history will begin with the Saxons. Indeed, the history of England tends to begin with 1066. But what happened before? Who lived here before the Saxons, or even the Romans? Who were the people who knew our rivers and hills better than we do? Who created many of our field systems, tracks, even roads?

My work in recreating late Iron Age Britain for my historical novels has caused me to focus on the counties of central southern England. The counties covered are:
(Talks have already been prepared for the ones in bold, but they can be tailored to your town).

If you have an anniversary coming up or a civic event, you could commission me to present a talk on the history of your town before the Romans. There will be things hidden in place names, or buried in the local museum, which we can bring back to life. Many people who have heard one of these talks become completely enthused about their own locality and set off on pilgrimages to local wells, river sources, hill forts etc. The fee for these commissioned talks is £120.

Berkshire - the home of the horse people

According to Wikipedia, Berkshire begins with the Saxons, but it is home to Silchester, a town that predates the Roman Conquest, and the great White Horse of Uffington, carved in the Bronze Age. This is the story of an ancient landscape that includes the Ridgeway and the Thames, the story of the tribe from Gaul called the Atrebates.

Oxfordshire - a sacred landscape

The space between the Thames and the Cotswolds where three major Iron Age territories met was a no-man’s-land. Nothing of the Romans has been found in Oxford itself. Why not? The medieval university was founded on a forgotten landscape as sacred as that of Stonehenge. Perhaps for this reason masterpieces of fantasy literature for children came to be written by learned academics.

Gloucestershire - the cauldron of myths

The history of Gloucestershire goes deep in time and mythology. It includes the mysterious Forest of Dean, the Severn and its bore, the Cotswold escarpment and its ancient barrows. It may be England, but it feels like Wales, and the dream of the Mabinogion rises over the river like a mist. It once was home to the tribe called the Dobunni.

Linda Proud Contact Details:

01865 556216


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