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Writing retreats, a literary agent, two new publications + other news

I'm writing from northwest Lesbos, Greece, at the rural and beautiful Metochi, an old monastic annex turned study center now owned by the University of Agder. We are on a writing retreat with the UiB Literature & Religion Research Group which I lead. Metochi is quiet, restful, surrounded by great natural beauty, and a perfect place to work all day on a big article before getting some vitamin D and dipping in the Mediterranean at Skala Kollonis. Our group of seven researchers is finding it an incredibly productive retreat. No meetings, no calls, no responsibilities other than to get in our research time before the busyness of the semester begins.

I'll find similar uninterrupted research time this coming November, when I take up a one-month residency at the Norwegian Institute in Rome, as an invited researcher in one of their apartments. Then I'll get the chance to work on my trade book, provisionally titled Visionary: The Woman Who Changed Medieval England. Birgitta spent the second half of her life in Rome, so for November I'll focus especially on the chapters concerning that part of her life, and then Cardinal Adam Easton, who lived at the Papal Curia in Rome for many years, as well as English laywoman Margery Kempe, who visited Birgitta's house in Rome.

In other trade book news I have signed for Visionary to be represented by the literary agent Clare Grist Taylor at The Accidental Agency. I am delighted to move this project forward in such capable hands!


This summer saw the publication of two volume chapters related to my NFR project on St. Birgitta of Sweden in Medieval England. Full details over on the Publications page.

First is an essay on an obscure vernacular gospel meditation Meditaciones domini nostri that borrows more from Birgitta's Revelations than any other Middle English life of Christ. I delivered a broader version of the piece as the opening keynote for the Birgitta Symposium hosted in Stockholm but held online in August 2021, and now it is published in the proceedings volume, Birgittine Circles: People and Saints in the Medieval World, ed. Mia Åkestam, Elin Andersson & Ingela Hedström, KKHA Konfersenser no. 110(Stockholm:Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien), pp. 11-37.

Second is an essay on Syon Abbey and the Birgittines in Women and Medieval Literary Culture from the Early Middle Ages to the Fifteenth Century, ed. Corinne Saunders and Diane Watt (Cambridge University Press), pp. 104-123.


I'm also honored and extremely excited to share a CFP for two roundtables for my monograph as winner of the SMFS First Book Prize. Leeds and Kalamazoo 2024, both hybrid. Do consider participating (can be in addition to a paper) and please spread the word!

Info from SMFS president Kathryn Maude :

I am delighted to announce that the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship will be holding two roundtables at the 2024 Kalamazoo ICMS and Leeds IMC to celebrate our 2022 Best First Book in Medieval Feminist Studies, Laura Saetveit Miles’ The Virgin Mary's Book at the Annunciation: Reading, Interpretation, and Devotion in Medieval England. The full abstract is below, and the roundtable is conceived as an informal discussion, with participants contributing either a brief response to the book and/or a discussion of your own research on one of the book's themes (e.g. women's literacy, depictions of women in art, research on Mary and Marian iconography, gender and hermeneutics/biblical interpretation, gender and liturgy, imitatio Mariae). The responses will be 5-7 minutes long, to leave time for a discussion. If you are interested in speaking at the Kalamazoo roundtable (hybrid format, so you can be present either online or in person), please apply through the conference page here: If you are interested in speaking at the Leeds roundtable, please email me (Kathryn Maude) on (and please email if you have any questions!). This year the Leeds congress was fully hybrid, with all sessions available to participate in either in person or online. ABSTRACT This roundtable celebrates Laura Saetveit Miles' book The Virgin Mary’s Book at the Annunciation: Reading, Interpretation, and Devotion in Medieval England (D.S. Brewer, 2020), the winner of the SMFS Best First Book in Medieval Feminist Studies Award 2022. The book argues that Mary's reading at the Annunciation provided a sophisticated model of reading and interpretation that was foundational to devotional practices across all spectrums of society in medieval England. The roundtable invites responses to Miles’ groundbreaking work in order to honour its contribution to medieval feminist scholarship.

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