Divine revelations: I, Julian, by Claire Gilbert, reviewed

Claire Gilbert considers Julian of Norwich to be the mother of English literature, and believes she should stand alongside Chaucer. What seems indisputable is that Julian was the author of the first work written in English by a woman. This rather wonderful fictional autobiography was published to coincide with the 650th anniversary of Julian first experiencing, in May 1373, the series of 16 visions she wrote about in Revelations of Divine Love. It comes garlanded with praise from, among others, Jeremy Irons and Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. In Gilbert’s account, Julian was just a child when she watched her father, a Norwich wool merchant, die in agony