Friday, February 28, 2014

A new edition of the Overwhelming List

It's that time again!  Another couple of months of research, helpful suggestions from readers, and general stumbling over hitherto unknown authors has made another revision and update necessary.  I've just posted the new edition of my Overwhelming List, which you can view here, and I've uploaded a new PDF version (now expanded to nearly 150 pages!), which you can download from the list pages or by clicking here.

As with the last update, the new version already contains a whole slew of new writers that I'll be discussing in update posts over the new few weeks, and the total number of writers listed is now 938, a net gain of 128.  The next update will surely take us into quadruple digits!  That seems quite astonishing to me, and is far beyond anything I could have imagined when I started the list, in innocent ignorance, with less than 100 authors.  But since I am still coming across writers almost every day who seem interesting and intriguing, clearly my work here is not yet done!

As well as the new additions, the revised list also contains new or corrected information on a bunch of writers who were already added in previous updates.  Many of these changes I owe to John Herrington, who has tracked down numerous writers I've been unable to find and has shared additional data on many for whom I had only the most shadowy outline.  (Of course, other women still remain shadowy outlines, but that's part of the fun of the process!)

Apart from John, I also owe a big thank you to several readers who shared their knowledge of lesser-known authors or suggested new ones I should include. 

Death notice of Mary Elizabeth Penrose, provided by Diane

Diane provided me with information about Mary Elizabeth Penrose—including a death date, which was more than The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction was able to provide.  She also explained that Penrose stopped writing following her son's death in 1918, during the final days of World War I.  Thank you, Diane!

Elizabeth Nisot cover, provided by Fernando

I also have to thank Fernando, who emailed me a while back about mystery author Anne Hocking.  Reportedly, there were three Hocking sisters, daughters of author Joseph Hocking, who all became novelists themselves.  Fernando successfully tracked down Anne's sister Elizabeth Nisot, who sometimes added a parenthetical "Elizabeth Hocking" on her book covers.  For now, the third sister remains an enigma, but I bet we identify her eventually!

Tina has been a loyal and supportive reader of this blog from its early days, and her suggestions have already resulted in the addition of numerous writers to my list.  Several more in this update come from Tina's research as well, so thanks again, Tina!

Dorothy Severn, provided by Geraldine

And finally, thanks to fellow DES-sie Geraldine, who suggested Dorothy Severn for my list and was even able to provide a photo.  Geraldine's husband was the founder of the Markyate Local History Society, and Severn was an early topic of research for the Society.  I would undoubtedly never have found Severn, who published only two books—a volume of poetry and a children's historical novel—on my own, so thank you to Geraldine for taking the time to share her with me.

In addition to the new additions to my list, there were also three excisions.  As much as I hate to remove perfectly good writers from my list, further research revealed that Judith Kelly was Canadian, Cynthia Lombardi was American, and Maysie Greig was Australian.  Perhaps someday I'll get around to adding Canadian, American, and Australian writers to my list, but for now I'm quite overwhelmed enough!  However, since I already did a review of a Maysie Greig novel a while back, I will leave the link to that review in my "Reviews by Author" section.

I've removed her from my list, but
can't resist posting her picture anyway

So, that's that for this go-round.  As always, please contact me if you see any inaccuracies or errors in the list, if you know of a writer who's missing, or if anything doesn't function or navigate properly.


  1. Quilters have a term "SABLE" which means stash acquired beyond life expectancy. In other words, it describes someone who has more fabric collected than they could ever use up in the life they have ahead of them. I feel as if your list of authors may be in that category. But oh, what fun to try and research and read them all.

    1. That's a perfect term, Kristi. Even my "to read" list, a small subset of all the authors on the Overwhelming List, is threatening to become a SABLE! But I try to just follow my instincts and read whatever is most exciting me at the moment. When I start to feel "overwhelmed," I remind myself that there are plenty of other readers and bloggers to discover the ones I miss! And at least I'm never at a loss for something to read...

  2. Replies
    1. Amazingly obsessive, perhaps? Perhaps a therapist could cure me, but then what would become of my blog?!?! :-)


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