The Conscientious Objector’s Wife: a Bath Quaker’s book launch

Journalist Lucinda Gosling interviews Kate Macdonald at the launch of The Conscientious Objector’s Wife at the Quaker Centre Bookshop, Friends’ House, London

Kate Macdonald, a new Friend at Bath Meeting, published her new book The Conscientious Objector’s Wife through her publishing company Handheld Press, on 25 June.

Kate writes:

Frank and Lucy Sunderland were Christians, pacifists and international socialists, who attended Howgills and other Meetings around Letchworth with their three children during the First World War. In October 1916 Frank presented himself for arrest at Hitchin police station, as he was now willingly breaking the Military Services Act by refusing to join the armed services as an absolutist conscientious objector. He was court-martialled and sent to prison, and remained incarcerated for two and half years. Lucy was prepared for his arrest, but not for such a long cumulative sentence, and their letters – nearly 200,000 words – reveal her struggles to make a living, raise their three young children, and support Frank in his ordeal. She was the rock that their family rested on, a feminist, a devout Christian and Attender, and as passionate about self-improvement and reading for her education as Frank was.

Kate was shown the letters by Frank and Lucy’s grandchildren, and has edited them into a narrative with detailed evidence of domestic life in wartime, the Quaker network that supported COs in Hertfordshire and beyond, and a love story in separation.

The book was launched with a gathering at the Quaker Centre Bookshop at Friends’ House in London on 27 June. It will also be celebrated with an evening event in November, on the anniversary of Frank’s court-martial, at Letchworth.

You can buy Kate’s book (and its Kindle and ePub versions) via the Handheld Press website, or order it from one of our lovely local independent bookshops.

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.