Ironhead, or, Once a Young Lady with Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem & Kristen Gehrman

Thursday 29 September 2022
1 morning event, 1 afternoon event
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Constance (Stance) is 18 and far too mouthy for a girl. Her younger brother Pier is a sanctimonious swot who, acting as a chaperone, desperately tries to keep his sister under control. Their father is an inventor with money problems, and in Ghent in 1808 a daughter is the perfect collateral for a big loan from a rich money lender. Stance’s fate appears to be sealed and her freedom a thing of the past.

Until one night, dressed in her husband’s clothes, she escapes and takes the place of a conscript in Napoleon’s army. Her husband views her disappearance as a breach of contract and Pier thinks he knows where his wayward sister is, and goes off in search of her. But Stance has never felt more at home than she does in the Fourteenth Company.

Ironhead, or, Once a Young Lady is the riotous and powerful story of a fierce renegade and the silly men who try to bring her down. 

Join Belgian author Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem and his translator Kristen Gehrman as they talk about feminism in the 1800s and the joys and challenges of working in translation. 

These are author visits for secondary schools for more information and to book a visit please email