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Madeleine Pelling is a cultural historian, writer and broadcaster. Her first book, Writing on the Wall: Graffiti, Rebellion and the Making of Eighteenth-Century Britain (Profile Books, 2024), tells a history of the period through the marks its inhabitants left behind. It was described as 'fascinating' by The Times, and 'ingenious' by The Spectator.

Madeleine is the ARIAs-nominated writer and co-host of History Hit’s After Dark: Myths, Misdeeds and the Paranormal, and a regular contributor for television and radio, having worked with broadcasters including Channel 4, Sky Arts, Warner Bros and Times Radio.


She holds a PhD from the University of York, and her words appear in The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, BBC History Magazine and History Today, as well as in numerous scholarly journals and edited collections.




Writing on the Wall: Graffiti, Rebellion and the Making of Eighteenth-Century Britain 

Profile Books


What if walls could talk? For historian Madeleine Pelling, they can - if you know where to look.

A new cultural history of the long eighteenth century, Writing on the Wall is told through the marks its citizens left behind, bringing into focus lost voices from the highest to the lowest in society. From the centre of London to the islands of the Caribbean, Pelling goes in search of graffiti, evidence of how ordinary people experienced the world-changing events that defined their lives - from political prisoners to sex workers, homesick sailors, Romantic poets and the artisans of the industrial revolution.


Here are lives, loves, triumphs and failures, scratched into the walls of prisons and latrines, chalked up on doors and etched into windows. The names of their creators may be lost to history, but together they tell the real story of Britain's most rebellious and transformative century.

"You've read the Austen and seen the Gainsboroughs, well this is the real eighteenth century in the words of those who walked the streets, worked the coal seems and clung to the topsail yards." -- Dan Snow

"From the ingenious starting point of a humble scratch on glass or daub on brick, Madeleine Pelling crafts a rich and complex portrait of a society in transition" -- Jacqueline Riding, author of Hogarth: A Life in Progress

"An erudite, dazzling and thought-provoking study of the graffiti of the period - be its creator Romantic poet or Jacobite, King Mob or Caribbean prisoner of war, Pelling teases out lost narratives with humanity and flair" -- Flora Fraser, author of Pretty Young Rebel

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Madeleine is host, along with Dr Anthony Delaney, of History Hit's After Dark: Myths, Misdeeds and the Paranormal, a podcast that takes listeners to the shadier corners of the past to shine a light on folklore, superstition and true crime.

"A rather more grounded podcast than many, its great to have real context offered in this fascinating area."

The Times

"Hosted by historians Anthony Delaney and Maddy Pelling, this podcast dives into history’s scariest and strangest stories exploring everything from haunted pubs and witch trials to odd UFO sightings."

Stylist Magazine

Shortlisted at the ARIAs ('Best New Presenter') and winner of 'Rookie of the Year' at the True Crime Awards 2024 

Madeleine has interviewed guests including Dr Tracy Borman (historian and author, Historic Royal Palaces), Professor David Wilson (criminologist, BBC Crime Files), and Edward Carey (novelist and illustrator, Little).


She is also available as an expert contributor to other podcasts. 



Madeleine has contributed to documentaries including Titanic in Colour (Channel 4, 2024) Royal Autopsy (Sky, 2024), Mayhem! Secret Lives of the Georgian Kings (Blue Ant Media, 2024), Queens That Changed The World (Channel 4, 2023) and Who Do You Think You Are? Australia (Warner Bros, 2023), and is presenting two forthcoming documentaries for History Hit.

She is available for television projects, as both a presenter and expert contributor.



For all literary enquiries, please contact Charlotte Merritt at Andrew Nurnberg Associates

For press, television and consultancy enquiries, please email 

For After Dark, please contact our producers at

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