Helen Batten

Helen has always been drawn to quirky worlds and unusual narratives, escaping into books and cheering up her mother with embellished tales of life on the outside. She read history at Cambridge, did a journalism course at Cardiff and went into television working as a producer/director in factual programmes at the BBC. She then had three children, retrained as a psychotherapist and now works in private practice in west London.

Helen has had three non-fiction books published. After making a documentary about circuses, she wrote her first book with the circus owner Gerry Cottle, Confessions of A Showman. Next she went to a convent and wrote a book based on the lives of the nuns behind the Call the Midwife series, Sisters of the East End, which reached number two in the Sunday Times non-fiction chart. Then she wrote another bestseller, The Scarlet Sisters, the story of five feisty red headed sisters growing up between the wars and how trauma can be passed down the generations.

Helen has just finished her first novel, which is a tale of the shattering consequences of infidelity. She is currently working on a non-fiction book about a pair of Victorian music hall and opera star sisters who formed their own production company and toured the world. She hopes it will not only be a portrait of a complex sibling relationship and nineteenth century theatre, but also challenge preconceptions about what women could and did do at the height of the Victorian era. The Tale of The Soldene Sisters will be published by Allison & Busby in 2021.