Carol Adlam

Carol AdlamCarol Adlam will be the Modern Languages writer in residence from 30 March to 25 April 2020. Carol will be working on a new crime story (working title: The Nix Crew), based on the adventures of a group of female detectives in the mid-nineteenth century and drawing inspiration from the Bell Pettigrew and wider MUSA / Wardlaw Museum collections. She will also be looking back to her Melbourne childhood to develop a novel.

Activities and events

‘The Ghost Residency’: a blog in the form of sketches and writing covering the period of the residency;

A workshop on scriptwriting, open to students in the Schools of Modern Languages and of English: 4:30pm – 6:00pm on 8 April 2020, Arts Seminar Room 4, Arts Building. The event is open to all students.

A workshop on scriptwriting for graphic novels, open to the public; date to be confirmed.


Carol Adlam is a writer and illustrator. From her small studio in post-industrial Nottinghamshire she makes graphic novels, and writes scripts for performance, children’s books, short stories, libretto, adaptations, as well as non-fiction. Her work is often collaborative, and she works closely with museums, archives and universities as well as graphic designers and other writers. Clients include The Guardian, Delayed Gratification: The Slow Journalism Magazine, and the United Nations; and she has held residencies at The National Archives, the National Army Museum, Nottingham Museum and Castle Galleries and other institutions. Her awards and prizes include a World Illustration Award (2018) for her book and exhibition Thinking Room, and the United Nations Gold Award for Children’s Book Illustration (2014); in 2019 her story ‘Grenoble and Attracta’ was longlisted for the Mogford Short Story Prize, and she was shortlisted for the World Illustration Awards in 2015 for the graphic novels Suzanne’s Story and in 2016 for Ministry of Women. She is also (part-time) Senior Lecturer in Visual Communications (Illustration) at Nottingham Trent University.

Carol’s previous experience includes many years as lecturer in Russian, and she is currently working with untranslated nineteenth-century Russian-language crime fiction texts to create a series of script adaptations for the project ‘Lost Detectives: Adapting Old Texts for New Media’ (2018-2020), led by Dr Claire Whitehead, Reader in Russian at the University of St Andrews. For ‘Lost Detectives’ she has written three full-length script adaptations to date – The Bobrov Affair: Murder During the Ball (graphic novel; inspired by Semyon Panov’s Tri suda, ili ubiistvo vo vremia bala [Three Courts, or Murder During the Ball, 1872); Today in 1864 (audio play, inspired by Nikolai Timofeev’s Zapiski sledovatelia [Notes of an Investigator, 1872]); Spade and Sand (verse drama/libretto, based on Nikolai Timofeev’s short story, ‘Ubiistvo i samoubiistvo’ [Murder and Suicide, 1872]). She has been commissioned to write two further stage adaptations for the ‘Lost Detectives’ project in 2020: these will be based on Aleksandra Sokolova’s Bez sleda [Without a Trace, 1890], and Aleksandr Shkliarevskii’s Sekretnoe sledstvie [A Secret Investigation, 1881]. With Dr Whitehead she is also co-creator of the podcast series ‘Lost Detectives’, which covers the topics of crime writing, adaptation, and translation.

Selected publications include the graphic novels (text and illustrations): Suzanne’s Story (2015); Thinking Room (2018); as well as the following graphic novel scripts: Chronicles of Dissolution (The National Archives 2017); Armistice & Legacy (The National Archives 2018). With Helen Cross she has also published The New Wipers Times (2014); Suzanne’s Story (2015); Amy in Love (2016); and Ministry of Women (2016).