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The Restless Republic


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Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2022

About the Author

Born in the West Highlands of Scotland, Anna was educated at Oban High School in Argyll and Bedales in Hampshire. She read history at Magdalen College, Oxford and took her PhD at the University of London.

From 1996 to 2002 Anna worked as a curator for Historic Royal Palaces, which looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and the Banqueting House in Whitehall. From 2002 until 2012 she was Properties Presentation Director of English Heritage, responsible for curating and presenting to the public 420 historic sites across England, from Stonehenge to Kenwood House. She is now Director of The Landmark Trust.


‘Her narrative brims with life, colour, humour and humanity … A dazzling achievement, and I loved every page’ Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times ‘In this ceaselessly fascinating account of one of the most epochal events in the country’s history, the deserved winner of the Pol Roger Duff Cooper prize, Anna Keay skilfully delves beneath the well-worn cliches about the Commonwealth and brings a time of quiet, uncertain and ultimately fruitless revolution to vivid life. It is hard to imagine a better examination of the Protectorat’ Alexander Larman, Observer ‘This is an exceptional book about an exceptional time … meticulously researched and deftly drawn character studies … A triumph’ John Adamson, author of The Noble Revolt ‘An exceptional feat of imaginative engagement. Never have the kingless years been made so vivid, and never has vividness contributed so much to the understanding of them. Keay has brought off an ingenious literary experiment… An entrancing achievement’ Blair Worden, TLS ‘Wonderful…. Tells the story of how the British and Irish people came to be who they are’ Clive Myrie ‘Deft, confident, deeply learned and provocative’ Rory Stewart ‘[A] vivid panorama … Keay conjures up with nuance and panache the single most fascinating decade in the history of Britain and Ireland, revealing it to be at once weirdly ancient and strangely modern’ Paul Lay, The Times ‘Keay offers us a world turned upside down; but also a world made real. That’s a remarkable achievement’ Adrian Tinniswood, Sunday Telegraph ***** ‘Readers both expert and casual will revel in seeing this period brought to noisy, brash, colourful [life] by the skilled pen of a natural storyteller’ Aspects of History

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