Melanie King

Author of books for adults

Available for:
After dinner speaking


Contact: email:

Oxfordshire Business Education Alliance 2015 Investors in Education

Adults, 11-13 (Key stage 3), 14-16 (Key stage 4), 11-16 (Key stages 3 and 4), 6th Form and college


I write non-fiction books on social and cultural history, concentrating on the often bizarre and unexpected stories behind everyday objects and practices such as bathing, drinking tea or coffee, spying, and treating common diseases. Although aimed at adults, all my topics can be adapted for a younger audience. I am used to working in schools and colleges giving talks and workshops since I previously worked for twelve years as a careers adviser in Cornwall and Oxfordshire.

I have given inspirational talks to school leavers in years 11, 12 and 13 and at award ceremonies. My husband and I offer a annual prize for creative writing in our local secondary school. I am based in Oxfordshire but I am willing to travel both in the UK and abroad.

Events I can offer:

POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS: These are based on my published books. My talks are full of illustrations that aim to make history come alive. My talks are also interactive. For example, my talk on 18th-century medicine includes bringing in common herbs to touch, smell and feel. Some of the talks I offer are on the following:

The cultural history of Spas

When the British began drinking hot beverages

Tea, Coffee and Hot Chocolate - where they came from and when and why they became popular

 Can Onions Cure Ear-ache? - a talk on 18th-century medical treatments and procedures

Medicinal Plants used in 18th-century England

Is Death the Last Taboo?

Spying in the First World War

Espionage and women  

BOOK CLUB: Once a year I run a book club for sixth-formers in my local secondary school, the Marlborough School in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. It is open to all students with the aim of introducing reading for pleasure. All participants must be prepared to voice their opinions on the books. I also delivered a book club to a school in Gibraltar as part of the Gibraltar Literary Festival (2014). Here are two examples.

Dystopia: Participating students will read in advance The Giver by Lois Lowry and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. There will be a structured discussion led by myself around themes, format and style, comparing these two very different books.

War and Survival: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. A structured discussion around themes covered in the novel, including book burning, survivor's guilt, and living a double life. 

INTERVIEW THE AUTHOR: In 2016 I was invited by a year head in an American school in Vicenza, Italy to sit in the 'hot seat' to be questioned by year 11 students about how I became a writer. It was a lively and fun experience that ended up focussing on the students' dreams and ambitions.

WORKSHOPS: I offer workshops on a variety of topics around the subject of death, dying and bereavement.

INSPIRATIONAL TALKS: I offer inspirational talks to encourage students to follow their dreams that areillustrated with historical characters who have overcome obstacles.

The Dying Game: A Curious History of Death (isbn:9781851685929)

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Can Onions Cure Ear-ache? Medical Advice from 1769 (isbn:9781851243822)

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Tea, Coffee & Chocolate: How We Fell in Love With Caffeine (isbn:9781851244065)

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Secrets in a Dead Fish: The Spying Game in the First World War (isbn:9781851242603)

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The Society of Authors; Writers in Oxford; The Royal Society of Literature.

Other search criteria:

Business, Law and Politics, Health and Psychology, History and Biography

Book Type:
Non fiction for adults

Skype, medical history, four humours, herbs, death, dying, spies, tea, coffee, chocolate, beverages, stress, spas, workshops, talks, inspirational