Helen Marshall is a critically acclaimed author, editor, and medievalist. After receiving a PhD from the prestigious Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, she spent two years completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford investigating literature written during the time of the Black Death. She was recently appointed Senior Lecturer of Creative Writing and Publishing at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England and she is the general director of the Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Marshall’s creative writing aims to bring the past into conversation with the present. Her first collection of fiction, Hair Side, Flesh Side, which won the Sydney J Bounds Award in 2013, emerged from her work as a book historian. Rather than taking the long view of history, her second collection, Gifts for the One Who Comes After, negotiated very personal issues of legacy and tradition, creating myth-infused worlds where “love is as liable to cut as to cradle, childhood is a supernatural minefield, and death is ‘the slow undoing of beautiful things’” (Quill&Quire, starred review). It won the World Fantasy Award and the Shirley Jackson Award in 2015, and was short-listed for the British Fantasy Award, the Bram Stoker Award and the Aurora Award from the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association
Most Recently Published Book (As of March 2019):
When I was younger I didn’t know a thing about death. I thought it meant stillness, a body gone limp. A marionette with its strings cut. Death was like a long vacation–a going away.
Storms and flooding are worsening around the world, and a mysterious immune disorder has begun to afflict the young. Sophie Perella is about to begin her senior year of high school in Toronto when her little sister, Kira, is diagnosed. Their parents’ marriage falters under the strain, and Sophie’s mother takes the girls to Oxford, England, to live with their Aunt Irene. An Oxford University professor and historical epidemiologist obsessed with relics of the Black Death, Irene works with a centre that specializes in treating people with the illness. She is a friend to Sophie, and offers a window into a strange and ancient history of human plague and recovery. Sophie just wants to understand what’s happening now; but as mortality rates climb, and reports emerge of bodily tremors in the deceased, it becomes clear there is nothing normal about this condition–and that the dead aren’t staying dead. When Kira succumbs, Sophie faces an unimaginable choice: let go of the sister she knows, or take action to embrace something terrifying and new.
Tender and chilling, unsettling and hopeful, The Migration is a story of a young woman’s dawning awareness of mortality and the power of the human heart to thrive in cataclysmic circumstances.