Books › The Britannias

The Britannias tells the story of Britain’s islands and the impress they have made on its collective cultural psyche. From Neolithic Orkney to modern-day Thanet, it explores the furthest reaches of Britain’s island topography, once known (wrote Pliny) by the collective term, Britanniae. Sailing over borders, between languages and genres, trespassing through the past to understand the present, it knocks the centre out to foreground neglected epics and and subversive voices.

The ancient mythology of islands ruled by women winds through the literature of the British Isles—from Roman colonial-era reports to early Welsh poetry, Renaissance drama to Restoration utopias—transcending and subverting the most male-fixated of ages. Looking far back into the past for direction and solace, The Britannias searches for new meaning about women’s status in the body politic. Boldly upturning established truths, it pays homage to the islands’ beauty, independence and their suppressed or forgotten female histories.

Shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2024

“A strange and beautiful book… An unconventional history that lingers in the imagination.”

— A Sunday Times Book of the Year 2023

“Alice Albinia enthrals with this truly imaginative exploration of the furthest reaches of Britain’s island topography, bringing to the fore a wealth of neglected folklore and forgotten histories.”

— Daunts – Books of the Year 2023

“There are books crafted from research, worthy and informative. And there are books that happen. That need to happen. That feel inevitable. As if they have always, somehow, been there waiting for us. The voyages of Alice Albinia around our ragged fringes range through time, recovering and resurrecting the most potent myths. A work of integrity and vision.”

— Iain Sinclair