A Sign of Her Own: Sarah Marsh

Saturday 25 May
National Centre for Writing at Dragon Hall
15.00 - 16.00
£ 10.00 - £7.50 (U18/Young NNF)

Join us for an in-depth discussion of Sarah’s debut literary novelexploring deaf history and representation.

A Sign of Her Own is a mesmerising tale of historical fiction that explores the legacy of the telephone through a young deaf woman named Ellen, the prized student of Alexander Graham Bell.

It is an empowering story of Ellen’s journey towards finding her authentic voice and accepting her deaf identity, and casts new light on the inventor and the invention that would forever change how we communicate.  

Sarah will be joined on stage by Naomi Wood, author of This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, to discuss the inspiration behind her novel and how she drew from real historical documents and personal experience to illuminate the joys and frustrations of being deaf in a hearing world. 

This event will be BSL interpreted.


Praise for A Sign of Her Own

‘Absolutely brilliant. Ellen Lark is unforgettable’ — Emilia Hart, author of Weyward

‘Illuminating… Excellently conveys the experience of being deaf in a hearing world’ — Priscilla Morris, Women’s Prize Shortlisted author of Black Butterflies

‘A fantastic novel. Shines a light into a hidden corner of history’ — Louise Hare author of This Lovely City


Part of City of Literature weekend 2024


City of Literature is a Norfolk & Norwich Festival and National Centre for Writing presentation, programmed by the National Centre for Writing.


Sarah Marsh was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish prize in 2019 and selected for the London Library Emerging Writers programme in 2020. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. A Sign of Her Own is her first novel, inspired by her experiences of growing up deaf and her family’s history of deafness. She lives in London. Image © Rii Schoer


Naomi Wood is an award-winning author and Associate Professor at the University of East Anglia. She is the author of three novels, The Godless Boys (Picador, 2011), Mrs. Hemingway (Picador, 2014) and The Hiding Game (Picador, 2019). Her first story collection, This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, is out with Orion (UK), Morrow (US) and Harper Collins (Germany) in 2024. Her story ‘Comorbidities’ won the 2023 BBC National Short Story Prize. Her other stories have been shortlisted for the Manchester Fiction Prize, the London Magazine and the Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize. She lives in Norwich with her family. Image © Christa Holka