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Melanie King

Melanie King is a historical non-fiction writer who has published a total of nine books to date. Melanie is an experienced speaker whose talks never fail to be interactive, illustrated with images, peppered with amusing anecdotes, and often with the opportunity to see and touch unusual objects. She has written books on numerous subjects, ranging from the history of English spas to spymasters throughout the First World War.


About Melanie King

Melanie King graduated with a degree in International Relations from Sussex University with three aims: to travel the world, to become a journalist, and to help people. Over the years she achieved her goals. She travelled alone through India, Nepal, Thailand, Australia, the United States and Europe. She worked in Bangkok as a staff writer for the Nation, an English-language newspaper, and in the publication department at Chatham House, a British think tank. She worked with Eurocrats in Brussels, with horses on a farm in Australia, and in London with refugees and victims of torture.

Thirty years and many careers later, Melanie earns a living as a writer and speaker. Her latest book, The Secret History of the English Spa (Bodleian Library Publishing, 2021), is an informative but light-hearted social and cultural history of the English obsession with drinking and bathing in spa waters, featuring the riotous and often salacious social life of spa towns such as Bath.

History should never be boring, and Melanie makes sure that there are always strange but true facts for her audience to take away from her lectures. Her talks are interactive, illustrated with images, peppered with amusing anecdotes, and there is often the opportunity to see and touch unusual objects.

Melanie King has spoken at events such as The Independent Bath Literature Festival, The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival, The Blenheim Palace Literary Festival at Woodstock, Words by the Water in Keswick, the Dundas Museum in Ontario, Canada, and to all manner of societies and educational establishments.

To book Melanie King, contact The Speakers Agency on +44(0)1332 810481 or email 

Speech Topics

The Making of Bath Spa

The Romans enjoyed the hot waters of Aquae Sulis hundreds of years before Bath became the elegant city we know today. But how did Bath become dramatically transformed in the eighteenth century from a rustic, rundown city to a capital of leisure and entertainment. Our starting point is in 1704 when a 30 year-old chancer, gambler and opportunist called Richard ‘Beau’ Nash arrived in town.


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 incarcerated in Moscow’s notorious Lubyanka Prison. Melanie tells you why and how this happened, bringing to life a story that over one hundred years ago was 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 is revealed.


Tea, Coffee and Chocolate: How We Fell in Love with Caffeine

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 at first 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 tea, coffee and chocolate were consumed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

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