'For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain' - launch of Victoria MacKenzie's new book


It is 1413 and two women meet for the first time in the city of Norwich. Margery has left her fourteen children and husband behind to make a journey. Her visions of Christ have placed her in danger with the men of the Church, who have begun to hound her as a heretic. Julian, an anchoress, has not left the cell in Norwich to which she has been confined for twenty-three years. She has told no-one of her own visions, and knows that time is running out for her to do so. The two women have stories to tell one another. Stories about girlhood, motherhood, sickness, loss, doubt, and belief; revelations more the powerful than the world is ready to hear. Their meeting will change everything……

Victoria MacKenzie’s debut novel, For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain, is a fictional account of the lives of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, exploring medieval women’s lives, the effects of grief and trauma, and the genesis of women’s writing.

Published by Bloomsbury and available from local and online bookshops.

Victoria MacKenzie is a fiction writer, poet, and winner of the Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award. She has given prestigious writing residencies in Scotland, Finland, and Australia. Victoria teaches creative writing for the Open College of the Arts and lives in Scotland. Read more on her website here.

Victoria will be discussing her novel on 11th May at the National Centre for Writing in Norwich with Sally-Anne Lomas, whose 2016 BBC documentary The Search for the Lost Manuscript tells the story of how Julian's manuscript was hidden for centuries.  More information and tickets are available here

Have a listen to Victoria's conversation with Shahidha Bari on BBC Radio 4's Front Row (recording begins at 15:13)

1 comment

  • It looks a beautiful reading experience. Me and my partner have plans to read it together taking the roles of Margery Kempe and Julian. As a task we plan to inhabit the roles and really let the voices of these two wise Elders speak forth. A form of dramatised Lectio Divina in some ways!

    Nick Ball

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