First published in The Times, Wednesday November 23 2016
The life of Harriet Martineau is eventful enough to provide material for several plays. At her peak, in the mid-19th century, the prolific writer, social commentator and proto-feminist outsold Charles Dickens. Queen Victoria was such a fan that she invited Martineau to her coronation. Given that her own mother believed that her daughters should never be seen in public with pens in their hands, Martineau’s success as a writer is all the more remarkable.