Lucia Osborne-Crowley

The Indigo Press is an independent publisher of contemporary fiction and non-fiction, based in London. Guided by a spirit of internationalism, feminism and social justice, we publish books to make readers see the world afresh, question their behaviour and beliefs, and imagine a better future.

Author photograph © Sarah Hickson

Lucia Osborne-Crowley

Lucia Osborne-Crowley is a writer and journalist. Her news reporting and literary work has appeared in Granta, The Sunday Times, HuffPost UK, the Guardian, ABC News, Meanjin, The Lifted Brow and others. Lucia works as a court correspondent for Law360

Lucia’s first book, I Choose Elena, was published in 2019. Her second book, My Body Keeps Your Secrets: Dispatches on Shame and Reclamation, was published in September 2021. 

 Lucia was awarded a 2022 Somerset Maugham Award for My Body Keeps Your Secrets. 

My Body Keeps Your Secrets: Dispatches on Shame and Reclamation

In her first full-length book, Lucia Osborne-Crowley, author of the acclaimed Mood Indigo essay I Choose Elena, writes about the secrets a body keeps, from gender identity, puberty and menstruation to sexual pleasure; to pregnancy or its absence; and to darker secrets of abuse, invasion or violation. 

Through the voices of women, trans and non-binary people around the world, and her own deeply moving testimony, My Body Keeps Your Secrets tells the story of the young person’s body in 2021. Osborne-Crowley establishes her credentials as a key intersectional feminist thinker of a new generation with this widely researched and boldly argued work about reclaiming our bodies from shame.  

Lucia’s recommended reading…

This is far and away one of my favourite novels of the year, and probably of the decade. Brown tells the story of a young Black British woman who has achieved everything she wanted to – an impressive job in finance, a steady boyfriend – but the book takes us through her reflection of the way every single interaction she has is tainted by racism and mistrust. She has done all the right things, followed all the rules, but it is never enough. Every sentence in this book does the work of an entire chapter. The writing is truly outstanding and the emotion is powerful and lucid and smart.
This is another one of my non-fiction picks of the year. Journalist Rachel Thompson takes a close look at the rise of “casual violence” – acts of violence and coercion that are creeping further and further into sexual culture – and what we can do about it. The book includes dozens of beautifully reported stories of people struggling with the greyer areas of sex and consent. In centring these stories, this book is a powerful argument for taking the next steps in our conversations about rape culture, and looking at the more insidious elements of coercion that don’t fit easily into black-and-white categories.
This book is an essential look at rape culture as we know it today. This beautifully written and meticulously researched work takes a clear and honest look at sexual violence and, importantly, its aftermath – the physical and psychological legacy it leaves with survivors, the way trauma lives on in the body and expresses itself through illness and pain. Morton uses her own stories of trauma and survival to examine the way these patterns play out again and again in our society, and this knowledge arms us with the tools to make things better. A truly important book.
This book from the brilliant New Yorker reporter Patrick Raddan Keefe is one of the best works of long form journalism I’ve read in a long time. It takes a deep dive into the opioid crisis and the people who oversaw a cruel empire that profited from people in pain. Unlike so much other reporting on opioids, this book looks at how victims of chronic pain are so vulnerable to exploitation by the medical establishment. This is a must-read for anyone interested in pain conditions and how to treat them.
This book is by the journalist who almost single-handedly re-opened the investigation in Jeffrey Epstein’s child sex trafficking ring after it was purportedly closed by Florida law enforcement in the 2000s, when they let the billionaire as-good-as get away with pleading guilty to trafficking minor girls for sex and facing almost no consequences.

Brown’s reporting was relentless and led to a new criminal investigation, arrest, and charge. This book brilliantly dives into all of the detail in the Epstein case and at the same time gives really useful detail about how Brown went about the project. I will come back to this book again and again for reporting tips.
This powerful memoir by Chanel Miller, the victim of Stanford rapist Brock Turner, really changed the way I thought about writing my own book. Miller’s voice is so clear and so powerful, and the way she narrates her passage through the criminal justice system and the shame and disempowerment she felt in becoming the unnamed victim of a high-profile rape trial is moving and unforgettable. Miller is such a wise writer and this book will always mean so much to me.
This beautiful book explores the devastating legacy of dismissing women’s chronic illness and pain through the story of Alice and her mother’s experience with myalgic encephalitis, or ME. Hattrick’s non-fiction voice is stunning, and the book looks closely at how being disbelieved when we are sick can infect a whole life and can be passed down through generations, can reverberate again and again and again. This is another book I will be coming back to often.
This is one of those books I re-read at least once or twice a year, and it’s one that I relied on very heavily while writing my new book My Body Keeps Your Secrets. This book is a collection of essays and speeches by Lorde, opening with my favourite essays of hers – a beautiful piece about her cancer diagnosis and how it forced her to come to terms will all the things she has not spoken up about, all the things she has kept quiet about – racism, sexism, violation – and how clearly she believes that she cannot let these secrets die with her.

I Choose Elena: On Trauma, Memory and Survival

Aged 15 and on track to be an Olympic gymnast, Lucia Osborne-Crowley was violently raped on a night out. The injuries she sustained that evening ended her gymnastics career, and eventually manifested in life-long chronic illnesses, which medical professionals now believe can be caused by untreated trauma.

In a brilliantly researched and deeply affecting essay, Osborne-Crowley invites the reader to her on decade-long journey to recovery: from the immediate aftermath of the assault, through years of misdiagnosis, to the solace and strength she found in writers like Elena Ferrante.

The author’s investigations reveal profound societal failures – of law, justice, education and the healthcare system. An essential contribution to the field of literature on assault and trauma, I Choose Elena argues that it is only through empathy than we can begin to address the self-perpetuating cycle of sexual violence.

On becoming phosphorescent

This feeling of the world stopping is at the heart of illness, for me, and also at the heart of the new community we are creating. That immobility is almost indescribable, which makes the act of describing it one of the purest forms of love, I think: describing it, as hard as it is, is a way to care for those who also feel adrift. 

In On becoming phosphorescent Lucia opens up the world of chronic illness, stillness, weakness and insisting on the best version of our own lives.

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