The Whores' Asylum, The Unpierced Heart, and more ...

This is the place to find out about me and my writing. Just to be clear - I am Katy Darby the author and editor from London, not the model from Manchester (sadly), nor the Australian doctor.

My first novel, a Victorian drama called The Whores' Asylum, is published by Fig Tree (Penguin) - that's its original (trade paperback) title, and its paperback title is The Unpierced Heart. Why not collect all editions? Also available in Czech & Italian ...

More recently five of my short stories appeared in the Arachne Press anthology Five by Five. Buy it here! It makes a great gift.

MY NEXT EVENT is at 7pm at Brick Lane Bookshop on Thursday 28th November

I'll be interviewing maverick author Tadhg Muller, and probably also his editor at Open Pen, Sean Preston, for the launch of Tadhg's novelette, the "gonzo autofiction" In Lieu of a Memoir. It's FREE and sure to be meta, so be there. Full details here

Want a taster of the book? Here's a video of me reading a saucy extract, followed by a violent scene (be still my beating heart!), at the King's Lynn Fiction Festival, and here's an interview with me on the Foyles website.

Jonathan Ruppin of Foyles also selected the book as one of his fiction picks, calling it "a terrific slice of Victorian Gothic, full of roguery and romance, as students vow to help the fallen women of Oxford's seediest locales."


After my talk on the subject at Clapham Books, I wrote an article for the blog WhatSarahReads, all about fallen women in literature, and very interesting it was too. Here's an extract from "The Whores' Asylum" on the excellent Untitled Books, if that piques your interest, and a video of me reading the same section. Or if for any reason you want to know which film femme fatale I'd like to be, look no further.


- There's an extremely nice write-up ("a thing of beauty .. a rare achievement") in The Independent on Sunday here.

- The Sunday Times said:

"Great panache ... a compelling tale of death, despair and obsession ... wildly and knowingly melodramatic but done with such energy and ingenuity that it's also tremendous fun."

- Tina Jackson in METRO gives it 4 stars, and says:

"A satisfying homage to Victorian sensation novels, melodramas and penny dreadfuls, Katy Darby's 'The Whores' Asylum' is a darkly enjoyable mix of romance and thriller ...

Darby draws her readers into an exciting Gothic romp populated with villainous cads, wronged women, ruined lives and two stalwart male friends whose relationship reaches crisis point because one of them has fallen in love.

Richly atmospheric and rattling away in fine style, it conjures 19th century high society and its sordid underbelly with verve and flair. Darby knows how to write a cracking novel that captures the reader's imagination."

- The Whores' Asylum also appears in the Books section of METRO's 'Top 10 Things to do this weekend' (scroll down).

- Emerald Street (the online sister publication of Stylist) has given it a lovely review here.

- The Express says: "Thrilling gothic romance ... recreates convincingly the colourful world of Victorian “sensation” novels and the stories of Sherlock Holmes ... shocking, exciting and gruesome ... read it now."

- The Guardian reckons it's great! (mostly) ... although also oddly categorises it as a thriller. I feel simultaneously flattered and perplexed.

- The Herald (Scottish newspaper) reckons it's "a consistently engaging and suspenseful Gothic melodrama."

- Top blog For Books' Sake gives it 4 stars: full review here.

- Bookmunch declares it "a stylish Gothic story" and calls my style "impeccable" (the cheque's in the post ...)

- And the novel has also got not one but two shout-outs on the self-explanatorially-named We Love This Book.

More as they come in!


I've got a semi-dormant blog, called I Have Never ... (after the infamous drinking game, but based on the principle of the brilliant Marcus Brigstocke-hosted Radio 4 programme I've Never Seen Star Wars) here:

It's partly about writing and partly about me doing things I've never done before (such as launch a book, play Dungeons & Dragons, read Harry Potter, watch Jaws, etc.) I'm planning to update it every week(ish), so check in and see if I keep my resolution ...


About me has a short bio and contact information, plus more about the novel, including jacket blurb for the first edition.

Writing has links to the book as well as to some of my short stories, poems, plays and readings which are online.

Other stuff comprises my teaching and editing, reviews by me (mostly theatre), and anything else you might file under "other".

Events leads to readings, festivals, interviews, literary events and masterclasses I'm doing. 

It also links to Liars' League, the award-winning bimonthly short story night I run.

Let me know what you think of the website, my writing, whatever - my email is on the About me page, and I'm on Twitter as @katydarbywriter ...