We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

The Stirrings

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781474625319

Price: £9.99

ON SALE: 11th April 2024

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Memoirs

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

Shortlisted for the 2024 TLS Ackerley Prize

‘Part poignant memoir of time and place. Part record of the violence, and indifference, against which most girls grow up. The Stirrings is a pleasure and a shock’ Eimear McBride

‘A superb, moving and disturbing memoir – haunting and unforgettable’ Jonathan Coe

This is a story about one young woman coming of age, and about the place and time that shaped her: the North of England in the 1970s and 80s.

About the scorching summer of 1976 – the last Catherine Taylor would spend with both her parents in their home in Sheffield.

About the Yorkshire Ripper, the serial killer whose haunting presence in Catherine’s childhood was matched only by the aching absence of her own father.

About a country thrown into disarray by the nuclear threat and the Miners’ Strike, just as Catherine’s adolescent body was invaded by a debilitating illness.

About 1989’s ‘Second Summer of Love’, a time of sexual awakening for Catherine, and the unforeseen consequences that followed it.

About a tragic accident, and how the insidious dangers facing women would became increasingly apparent as Catherine crossed into to adulthood.


I suspect the book will be catnip to readers of a nostalgic bent . . . Taylor skilfully captures the mood of those years, a 'Northern Time' caught miraculously in aspic
Mail on Sunday
A coming-of-age memoir which charts the author's experiences growing up in 1970s and 80s Sheffield, the evocation of time and place is so good you are almost surprised when you look up and see you are elsewhere
i news
Inspiring in its honesty, unforgettable in its blend of grit and vulnerability
Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller
Captures the fear and euphoria of growing up with precision and wry, spiky flair
Susie Boyt
The 'addictive, druggy aroma' of Vosene shampoo is just one of the many memories triggered by Catherine Taylor's evocative and stirring memoir . . . The book neatly balances a personal story with an incisive social history of an era, told honestly through working-class eyes . . . An excellent memoir
Sparklingly evocative . . . Taylor illustrates the deep connection between person and place in the construction of identity: here the lines between city and citizen are satisfyingly blurred
Financial Times
A great and devastating memoir
Laura Cumming
What a superb, moving and disturbing memoir Catherine Taylor has written. Tracing delicate threads of connection between the political and the personal, evoking the atmosphere of the 80s and early 1990s with uncanny precision. It's haunting and unforgettable.
Jonathan Coe
From chlorine and Quavers to the Jesus and Mary Chain, an engaging personal and political 1980s awakening
Richard Beard
Taylor's memories are deliciously vibrant
Pippa Bailey, New Statesman
Part poignant memoir of time and place. Part record of the violence, and indifference, against which most girls grow up. THE STIRRINGS is a pleasure and a shock
Eimear McBride
As well as a personal story, The Stirrings is also an atmospheric social document . . . delicately written and deeply affecting
Irish Times
So stylishly done, and one of the finest memoirs I've read in years
Sunjeev Sahota
A haunting piece of memoir and cultural history
Buzz Magazine
Catherine Taylor's wonderful, evocative memoir is honest and unsentimental about the city of Sheffield she grew up in during the Seventies and Eighties but it's clear that, although she now lives in London, it still looms large in her life . . . [an] easily relatable, sympathetic and moving story. And while many of the landmarks of Catherine's Sheffield youth are now long gone the city's renewal in recent times seems to go hand in hand with her own personal journey
The Stirrings is an evocative and moving time-slip of a memoir. With ominous overtones, a defiant spirit, and a nostalgic slice of both the euphoria and dread that saturated the '70s and '80s, Taylor's coming of age tale gifts us the friend we all longed for growing up: one who is open, funny and better read
Jade Angeles Fitton
Catherine Taylor's memoir The Stirrings is a dark, wry tribute to the Steel City, and her encounters with many of its best-known inhabitants . . . Her findings are presented with both poetry and wit: The Stirrings is a vivid chronicle of a young woman's journey into adulthood, and an equally vivid portrait of a place and moment in time
Holly Williams, Telegraph
The violence men do, to the world in general but women's bodies in particular, is the angry backdrop to this fine memoir. That and the city of Sheffield itself . . . While the prose is lyrical, the book offers a way of thinking about the personal past that will speak to anyone who has grown up trying to assemble a self from the bits and pieces of family and political culture randomly assigned at birth. In other words, all of us.
Kathryn Hughes, Guardian
This marvellous book is a creature of itself. Memoir? Forget it. Here is prose operating at the level of a lethal instrument
Kirsty Gunn, New Zealand Listener
Catherine Taylor's account of her youth is a lyrical study of how place shapes character ... Assured and perceptive . . . She brilliantly evokes the "tiny traumas" of childhood . . . Haunting . . . The reader may wish this memoir were longer
A frank and challenging mixture of memory and anger and protest, with a strong sense of place and history. It evokes a Sheffield I knew well in the process of evolving into the city it is now - the very place names are resonant with nostalgia
Margaret Drabble
A powerful memoir, strong on period detail and notable both for the dramatic events in the background (including the Yorkshire Ripper murders and Orgreave) and for the author's story of her childhood and family
Blake Morrison