Dreaming of Rose: A Biographer’s Journal, Handheld Press. Publication July 2021

In which the intrepid biographer finds more than she expected, and uncovers old secrets while writing the life of the celebrated novelist, essayist and wit Rose Macaulay. A journal of writing a life while dealing with everything that that life throws at you, as well as your own.

‘Such a wise and charming book, giving us a glimpse over the shoulder of a biographer at work … a tribute to biography itself, as a quest, as an art, and as the most generous and selfless of literary genres.’ – Sarah Bakewell

‘It is all utterly absorbing; I was hardly able to put it down. … I recommend this unusual and fascinating book to you, fragmentary record of two writers’ lives, a biographer’s search for her ghostly subject.’ – Helen Parry, Shiny New Books

Chosen as one of blogger Desperate Reader’s Top Ten Books of 2021: ‘ … a wonderful book about writers, writing, and everyday life. Sarah LeFanu’s excitement when things are going well (such as finding herself in the same hotel that Rose wrote about) is irresistible.’ 


Something of Themselves: Kipling, Kingsley, Conan Doyle, and the Anglo-Boer War, Hurst Publishers

February 2020

Shortlisted for the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography.

‘Imaginatively conceived, meticulously researched and subtly narrated … a biographical treasure trove’ – David Kynaston

‘A brilliantly insightful, very moving examination of three writers on the battlefield.’ – Lara Feigel

‘This biographical study of three writers in South Africa in 1900 is also a history of the first year of the Boer War, and a splendidly well-written page-turner. … Sarah LeFanu has already shown her ability to combine scholarship and storytelling… In Something of Themselves, she has achieved a classic’ – Jan Montefiore, Times Literary Supplement

‘This lively and thoroughly researched book gives an effective account of the political and military events of the Boer War, splendidly evoking the geographical and social landscape against which it was fought. … Sarah LeFanu brings the story to life … full of interesting extras and witty asides’ – Richard Maidment, Kipling Journal

‘a fascinating study’ – Benjamin Shull, Wall Street Journal

‘ambitious … compelling … magisterial’ – Uddalak Mukherjee, Telegraph of India


S is for Samora: A Lexical Biography of Samora Machel and the Mozambican Dream, Hurst Publishers

‘Vivid and clear-eyed … highly  recommended’ – Henning Mankell

‘A cracking biography of the Mozambican dream’ – Zoe Norridge, Independent       


In the Chinks of the World Machine: Feminism and Science Fiction

Ebook: SilverWood Books

‘Astute and searching’ – Sunday Times


Rose Macaulay: A Biography

Ebook: SilverWood Books

‘a magnificent job … imaginative and thoughtful, dense with distilled information  … LeFanu offers a skilled visual, intellectual and emotional picture of a complex woman.’ – Diana Souhami, Independent