Melanie King is a writer of historical non-fiction who has published seven books. Her book on English spas will be published in 2020. She is an experienced speaker, and her passion is to make history come alive.
To book Melanie King for your next event, contact us today.
Read more about Melanie King
Melanie King graduated with a degree in International Relations from Sussex University with three aims: to travel the world, become a journalist, and ‘help people'. Over the years she achieved her goals. She travelled alone through India, Nepal, Thailand, Australia, the United States and Europe. She also worked in Bangkok as a staff writer for the Nation an English-language newspaper, in Brussels with Eurocrats, in London with refugees and victims of torture, and on a horse farm in Australia.
Thirty years and many careers later, Melanie earns a living as a writer and speaker. Her latest book, The Lady is a Spy, is a fascinating true story about two female journalists. In 1920 they were imprisoned as spies in Moscow's notorious Lubyanka prison.
Espionage is a personal favourite of Melanie’s, and another of her books, Secrets in a Dead Fish, is all about the tricks spies employed during the First World War. Were messages really hidden in dead fish? She also can tell you how we fell in love with tea, coffee and chocolate, and all about illnesses and cures of the eighteenth century. All her information comes from the Bodleian Library in Oxford and other libraries and archives around the world.
History should never be boring, and Melanie makes sure that there is always at least one factoid, strange, but true, that you take away. Her talks are interactive, illustrated with images, peppered with amusing anecdotes, and there is often the opportunity to see and touch unusual objects.
The Lady is a Spy: The Tangled Lives of Stan Harding & Marguerite Harrison
A true story of two female journalists who, ahead of their time, covered the violent uprisings in Germany after WWI and then the rise of Bolshevik Russia. Their friendship ended in betrayal and revenge after both were guests of Moscow's notorious Lubyanka Prison. Melanie tells you why and how this happened, bringing to life a story that, 100 years, made international headlines.
Tricks of the Trade: Spying in the First World War
This is a lively and amusing talk illustrating some of the weird and resourceful ways of collecting and passing on intelligence during the First World War. Should you be wary of a lady wearing stockings? And why were the British obsessed with washing drying on lines in Belgium? All this and much more will be revealed.
How the British First Fell in Love with Tea, Coffee and Chocolate
These three beverages are the mainstay of our diets, but do you know when they first arrived in England? Where did they come from, and why were many people terrified to drink them? This lively and amusing talk will enlighten and entertain you about the drinking habits of the British and some of the ingenious ways they were consumed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Illnesses and Cures of the Eighteenth Century
The average life expectancy in the eighteenth century was 44, younger for women due to childbirth. Bloodletting, vomiting, drinking contaminated ‘spaw' water, and applying or consuming herbs—such were the medicines of the day. This talk is an amusing but thoughtful talk on how people tried to keep healthy and cure themselves during the eighteenth century. You will never look at fried leeks in butter in the same light again!
Mithridatium: Super Drug of Emperors
For many centuries, the panacea to cure almost anything was Mithridatium. Every Roman emperor since Nero started his day with this elixir. Henry VIII and Elizabeth I took it daily like a vitamin pill. Chinese noblemen partook in the habit, and Arabic and Islamic treatise recommended it highly. Mithridatium contained 55 ingredients that included Dragon's Blood, poison flesh of special ducks fed on hemlock and salamanders. This informative, illustrated talk will share forgotten historical facts that will amaze, amuse, and horrify.