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I, Julian: The fictional autobiography of Julian of Norwich

I, Julian: The fictional autobiography of Julian of Norwich

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Paperback / softback

£9.99

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 9781399807548
Number of Pages: 336
Published: 11/04/2024
Width: 12.8 cm
Height: 19.6 cm

'I was completely hooked and considerably moved by the life and thoughts of this exceptional woman'
- JEREMY IRONS

'It is as if we have finally found the lost autobiography of one of the medieval world's most important women.'

- JANINA RAMIREZ

'A beautiful, intensely moving achievement'

- A.N. WILSON

In 1347, the first pestilence rages across the land. The young Julian of Norwich encounters the strangeness of death: first her father, then later her husband and her child. When she falls ill herself, she encounters mystical visions that bring comfort and concern. But in the midst of suspicion and menace, when the Church is actively condemning heretics, Julian is not safe.

I, Julian is the account of a medieval woman who dares to tell her own story.

Battling grief, plague, the church and societal expectations, and compelled by her powerful visions, Julian finds a way to live a life of freedom - as an anchoress, bricked up in a small room on the side of a church. Helped by Thomas, a Benedictine monk from Norwich Cathedral, she writers of what she has seen and offers word of counsel to others. Julian's manuscripts are protected by trusted sisters and are passed from hand to hand, become the first book to be written by a woman in English.


'So I will write in English, pressing new words from this beautiful plain language spoken by all. Not courtly French to introduce God politely. Not church Latin to construct arguments. English to show it as it is. Even though it is not safe to do so.'


Tender, luminous, meditative and powerful, Julian writes of her love for God, and God's love for the whole of creation. 'All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.'

'Written with profound insight, spiritual and psychological, and a rare sensitivity to the everyday world of the fourteenth century, I, Julian is a brilliantly illuminating companion to one of the greatest works of spiritual writing in English.' Rowan Williams, Magdalene College, Cambridge University


I, Julian won an Award of Merit in the Fiction Category in the Christianity Today awards, 2023, and was a finalist in the Religious Fiction category of the 2023 International Book Awards.
The cover design for I, Julian won an ECPA Top Shelf award in 2023.

Claire Gilbert

Claire Gilbert grew up in London, of Jewish, Scots, Spanish and English heritage. She writes and speaks about ethics and spirituality in politics and public life, medicine, ecology and on Julian of Norwich. She is Director of Westminster Abbey Institute. With her partner Seán she divides her time between London, Hastings and Ireland.

Brilliantly inventive * Daily Telegraph *
Claire has brought Julian of Norwich to life in the most miraculous way -- Mark Patrick Hederman, OSB
The clarity of the prose is striking, as is the ultimate serenity of Julian's contemplation. * Spectator *
I was completely hooked and considerably moved by the life and thoughts of this exceptional woman -- Jeremy Irons
What a wonderful book! It is as if we have finally found the lost autobiography of one of the medieval world's most important women. Julian's voice rings out true on every page and a deep understanding of her world and her work underpins each line. It is a joy to read. * Janina Ramirez, historian, author and broadcaster, Oxford University *
There have been a few other writers who have tried to fill out the human hinterland of Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love?, but I can't think of any who have done so quite as persuasively and richly as this. Written with profound insight, spiritual and psychological, and a rare sensitivity to the everyday world of the fourteenth century, it is a brilliantly illuminating companion to one of the greatest works of spiritual writing in English. * Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge *
Claire Gilbert inhabits Julian of Norwich in the way that Hilary Mantel immersed herself in Cromwell. This is living fiction. -- Sarah Sands
. . . extraordinarily deft and sensitive. This book is going to introduce many new readers to Julian and inspire others who know her slightly to go back with fresh eyes and a reinvigorated sense of how her writing developed and in what sort of historical setting. It really is a striking book, and an impressive achievement. -- Nicholas Watson, Harvard University
I, Julian, is a tour de force, a rich reimagining of the life of Julian of Norwich and a disturbing evocation of the life of the merchant class in Norwich in the fourteenth century -- Julia Neuberger
This is a rich and intriguing book, which is profoundly thought-provoking and helps the reader to get to know Julian in an entirely new way -- Paula Gooder
both gripping and profoundly believable -- Santha Bhattacharji, Fellow Emeritus, St Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford
'Claire Gilbert has written a freshly modern fiction about the famous mystic which lives and breathes the life of the fourteenth century: the stench and terror of plague; the intolerance of the late medieval church. Even more remarkably, she has plausibly drawn the inner prayer-life, the self-doubt, the loneliness and the quiet faith of this great genius. It is a beautiful, intensely moving achievement which not only excites literary admiration: it renews the reader's faith that 'all shall be well'. * A. N. Wison *
Her novel's appeal comes from the care with which she places her story in its historical context. * Church Times *
I, Julian is a wonderful reminder that part of the mystery of fiction is its capacity to lighten the heart, give an adrenaline kick, and strip away preconceptions. -- Cynthia Ruchti, novelist, speaker, literary agent * Christianity Today Ficton Prize juding panel, 2023 *

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