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A Single Thread: Tracy Chevalier on Louisa Pesel

Join bestselling author Tracy Chevalier as she talks about the inspiration for her new book.

Discover the real story behind Tracy Chevalier’s new novel A Single Thread at this special Sheppard Event.

Tracy Chevalier is the author of ten novels, including Girl with a Pearl Earring and Remarkable Creatures. She has sold over six million copies and won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award.

When researching A Single Thread, Chevalier found inspiration in the University of Leeds International Textile Collection. The archive of Bradford-born embroiderer and educator Louisa Pesel played a particularly important role.

In 1931 Pesel founded the Winchester Cathedral Broderers. It was the archival material relating to this chapter in Pesel’s life which inspired Chevalier’s new novel.

Louisa features as a character in A Single Thread, alongside central character Violet Speedwell. Violet is a “surplus woman” still keenly feeling the losses of the First World War. Chevalier’s novel follows Violet to Winchester where she falls in with the broderers, a disparate group of women charged with embroidering kneelers for the Cathedral.

A complementary display of the International Textile Collection material which inspired Tracy Chevalier will be available for viewing in The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery as part of the event. A Single Thread will also be available to purchase at the event.

17:30 - 18:00: Opportunity to view the Louisa Pesel Collection in The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery

18:00 onwards: Talk by Tracy Chevalier in the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery

This is the fourth in an annual series of events held in memory of the late Chris Sheppard (1947-2014), former Head of Special Collections and Brotherton Fellow. Previous Sheppard events have included lectures from author Sophie Hannah and historian Helen Rappaport, as well as an in conversation event with Tony Harrison.

Louise Pesel (left), Tracy Chevalier (right)
Louise Pesel (left), Tracy Chevalier (right)