TalksTalks | ONLINE
British Library
Tue 28 Feb 2023
7:00 pm
Subtitled in house by British Library
The Ladies of Llangollen: Mary Gordon’s Chase of the Wild Goose image

A forgotten queer classic celebrating the Ladies of Llangollen.
This is an online only event hosted on the British Library platform. Bookers will be sent a viewing link shortly before the event and will be able to watch at any time for 48 hours after the start time.
The event will be live captioned.
Chase of the Wild Goose, out of print since the 1940s, has just been republished by Lurid Editions who are making the book available to contemporary readers for the first time.
This event brings together publisher D-M Withers, historian Alison Oram and writer Frances Bingham in discussion of a historical novel described by Sarah Waters as a ‘fascinating piece of queer literary history.’
At the heart of Chase of the Wild Goose are the lives of Eleanor Butler (1739–1829) and Sarah Ponsonby (1755–1832), two Irish women who eloped from their families and set up home together in Llangollen, North Wales. In their lifetimes they became famous celebrities, known internationally as the Ladies of Llangollen.
Our speakers examine the enduring significance of the Ladies as queer icons, whose imagery and energy continues to powerfully reverberate across history. They will also introduce the author of Chase of the Wild Goose, Mary Gordon, a pioneering late 19th and early 20th century feminist, whose intense spiritual connection with the Ladies motivated her to write their story. Chase of the Wild Goose is an important, endearing and eccentric lesbian modernist text that will bring joy to readers.
Frances Bingham is the author of Valentine Ackland: A Transgressive Life (2021), Journey from Winter (2008), The Principle of Camouflage (2011) and London Panopticon (2020). She has also published short stories and poems.
Alison Oram is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London and Professor Emerita at Leeds Beckett University. She has published widely on queer British history, most recently Queer Beyond London (Manchester University Press, 2022), co-authored with Matt Cook.
D-M Withers is the founder of Lurid Editions Ltd and Lecturer in Publishing at the University of Exeter. D-M was also part of the curatorial team for the British Library exhibition Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights.
Norena Shopland is a Welsh historian and writer who specialises in LGBTQ+ research and history. She has featured on lists of Welsh LGBTQ+ people of note, and gives talks, lectures and workshops on Welsh heritage and LGBTQ+ history.