Leeds University Library

Russian-themed Sheppard Lecture announced

Published Monday 10 April 2017

Helen Rappaport

Author Helen Rappaport to feature

Leeds University Library is proud to announce that author Helen Rappaport will speak about her latest book 'Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd 1917' at the second Chris Sheppard lecture this May.

Helen Rappaport is an alumna of the University of Leeds and will receive an Honorary doctorate in July 2017 in recognition of her outstanding work promulgating academic and popular history.

Helen has written 14 books mainly on Victorian and Russian subjects, including Four Sisters, an internationally bestselling biography of the four Romanov Grand Duchesses, the daughters of Nicholas II, which was a Sunday Times bestseller in non-fiction, a New York Times Top 20 non-fiction title for 12 weeks and the Good Reads Best History and Biography 2014 award winner.

Guests will hear about Helen's latest book which is a compelling account of foreign eyewitnesses of the Russian revolution in 1917. The book is proving to be a big success both in the UK and in the USA and has sold foreign rights to ten territories.


In her book Helen draws on material from the Leeds Russian Archive, which is held at the library's Special Collections. The Leeds Russian Archive's exhibition is the current exhibition at the Library's Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, and marks the centenary of the Russian revolution. The exhibition is called Caught in the Russian Revolution: The British Community in Petrograd, 1917-1918 and runs until 31 July 2017.

Helen's lecture coincides with and celebrates the 35th anniversary of the establishment of the Leeds Russian Archive on 25 May 1982.

Helen said, "I'm so delighted to be returning to my old alma mater Leeds to give this lecture. I owe a huge debt to Leeds University for the wonderful Russian Special Studies course I did there, which inspired a lifetime's love of all things Russian, and also to the Leeds Russian Archive, whose wonderful resources I have drawn on for several books."

Stella Butler, University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection said, "We're honoured to have Helen as our guest lecturer at the Sheppard Lecture.

Chris Sheppard was a true supporter of the Leeds Russian Archive and it is great to see it acknowledged in this 35th year, through Helen's work and our own exhibition. Helen is a leading voice on the subject and so I expect to see a good turnout for this interesting lecture from such a knowledgeable individual."

Event places are limited, so register early for your place at this special event on Thursday 25 May at 5.30pm in the Edward Boyle Library, University of Leeds.
The Sheppard Lectures are held in memory of former Head of Special Collections, Chris Sheppard

The 2017 lecture is the second of its kind. Last year Sophie Hannah took to the lectern to deliver a talk on Agatha, Poirot and Me which examined Sophie's work to continue the Poirot story.