Lady Constance Lytton by Lyndsey Jenkins has been shortlised for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2015, facing competition from titles by Anita Anand, Michael Bundock, Alan Cumming and Sarah Knights.

Lady Constance Lytton

Aristocrat, Suffragette, Martyr

by Lyndsey Jenkins

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Lady Constance Lytton (1869–1923) was the most unlikely of suffragettes. Daughter of a Viceroy of India and lady-in-waiting to the Queen, she grew up in the family home of Knebworth and for forty years, did little but devote herself to her family. A chance encounter with a suffragette intrigued her; witnessing Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst on trial converted her, and she was willing to be imprisoned for the cause. But, once jailed, Constance soon found that her name and connections singled her out for unwelcome special treatment. She therefore decided on a radical step: taking the name Jane Warton, she disguised herself and got herself arrested in Liverpool. In prison, she was force-fed eight times before her identity was discovered and she was released. Her case became a cause celebre, she became an inspiration and, in the end, a martyr. Her extraordinary life-story has never been told until now.

Click here to read the prologue!

The judges for the prize are Damian Barr, Fiona MacCarthy, and James Naughtie.

The winner will be announced at the Biographers’ Club Prize Dinner at the National Liberal Club on 4 November.