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Una McIlvenna is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow 2023-2027
and Senior Lecturer in English at the Australian National University.
Her research interests lie in the fields of early modern cultural and literary history.
She is particularly interested in the tradition of singing the news.
Una has a PhD in Renaissance Studies from Queen Mary University of London, and has taught at the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne in Australia and the University of Kent and at Queen Mary in the UK.
Her most recent book, Singing the News of Death: Execution Ballads in Europe 1500-1900, looks at the fascinating and long-lived tradition of execution ballads. These songs told the news of crime and their usually ghastly punishments in sensationalist and graphic terms. The book won the 2023 Katharine Briggs Award from the Folklore Society and was shortlisted for the NSW Premier's General History Prize. It is accompanied by her digital platform, Execution Ballads.
Her first book, Scandal and Reputation at the Court of Catherine de Medici explores the real-life scandals that rocked the court of Catherine de Medici, the queen mother of France during the Wars of Religion. It debunks the myth of Catherine's 'flying squadron', and shows how women have been collectively slandered for centuries.
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