Book Launch: The Flying Child: A Cautionary Fairy Tale for Adults by Sophie Olson and Patricia Walsh

On 20 February 2024, SHaME is hosting its final in person event, a book launch for Sophie Olson and Patricia Walsh’s The Flying Child: A Cautionary Fairy Tale for Adults.

Clore Lecture Theatre (B01)
Clore Management Centre,
27 Torrington Square, London


The Flying Child: A Cautionary Fairy Tale for Adults


On 20 February 2024, SHaME is hosting its final in person event, a book launch and book signing with Sophie Olson (The Flying Child Project CIC) and ZunTold for their new book, The Flying Child: A Cautionary Fairy Tale for Adults.

Register Now:
Age Guidance: 18 yrs +FREE – but please register in advance
Book In-Person Tickets
20 February 2024
6.00-9:00PM GMT
Followed by a Reception and Book Signing
*This event is taking place in person at Birkbeck, University of London.
*Please note: photography/filming strictly prohibited.
*This event will be audio recorded (speakers only) by SHaME.


Join authors Sophie Olson and Patricia Walsh and a panel of speakers, including poet, writer and activist Clare Shaw, GP Jonathon Tomlinson and SHaME’s Director, historian Ruth Beecher, for a conversation about how the book came to be written, the harmful silences around child sexual abuse, the challenges of navigating the medical sphere and support services, and ultimately how Sophie and Patricia worked relationally, and courageously to approach the aftermaths of child sexual abuse (CSA). CSA survivors have different needs and there are many different ways of meeting them. The panel will explore how we begin to do that in a way that doesn’t cause further harm, look at missed opportunities along the way, the role of stigma and shame, and the importance of ‘looking beyond the label’.

The evening will feature readings from the book, a panel discussion, and a brief audience Q&A.

This event will close with a drinks reception and book signing.


The book documents the therapeutic journey undertaken by Sophie and her therapist, Patricia. It includes all chapters of the fairy tale and the drawings Sophie created to help her make sense of her experiences and to reconnect with herself. It contains many between-session conversations, with important insights into how to work intuitively with trauma. Essential reading for those interested in understanding or working with survivors of child sexual abuse, for those who are survivors of sexual abuse, and all people in ‘The World’, The Flying Child: A Cautionary Fairy Tale for Adults is a must- have for your bookshelf.

You can pre-order The Flying Child: A Cautionary Fairy Tale for Adults at Blackwells, Bookshop.orgTelegraph Books, and Waterstones.



Sophie Olson is a CSA survivor activist, writer, and founder of The Flying Child CIC – an organisation leading conversation about Child Sexual Abuse through survivor-led training, campaigning, and support. Their core aim is to normalise speaking about CSA in wider society and within the survivor community itself. Their training, The Flying Child Project began in education, and is recognised UK wide. They work across different sectors including social work, university settings, foster care, maternity, dentistry, and the NHS.

Sophie’s work seeks to challenge the societal culture of silence. She has a particular interest in the non-pathologisation of trauma. With first-hand experience in a system that was unable to support her with childhood trauma, her story was covered by Radio 4 in the Lights Out documentary “The Last Taboo

She works with research projects including Dentistry, Mental Health, and Maternity, aiming to improve survivor access, and is co-developing The Skylark Project: a pathway of care in the NHS, specifically for survivors of sexual violence.

In 2022 she was shortlisted for the Criminal Justice Alliance Awards Saskia Jones Award for Victims Services.

She is a mother of four and in her spare time, writes poetry and appreciates her allotment.

Patricia Walsh is an experiential and intuitive counsellor and is a member of the National Counselling & Psychotherapy Society. She has over forty years’ experience of working in trauma. This has included women’s refuges, outreach work and a career as an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor. Her initial interest in healing took her into the careers of nursing and occupational therapy. Realising that the role of mind in recovery from disease was paramount she then went on to explore the world of psychology, hypnotherapy, and counselling. It was her close encounter with death in 2014 that inspired her to write her autobiography Cancer – A Magical Quest. During this time of immense personal growth, she experienced the transformative power of Qigong – an ancient Chinese form of movement, breathing techniques and meditation. Her training as a Reiki Practitioner had already introduced her to the importance of energy work in healing and in 2019 she graduated as a teacher from the London College of Elemental Chi Kung (Qigong). She continues to train in higher practices and teaches clients how to release trauma from the physical body and train the mind to become more resilient.

She currently works as a counsellor for a London rape crisis centre and runs regular self-help groups in Surrey. Using a programme she devised herself, entitled The Way of the Goddess, she invites female survivors of CSA, to challenge their earlier conditioned beliefs and bring about changes in their lives.

Clare Shaw has four poetry collections with Bloodaxe. Clare is also a mental health trainer and author, with a specific expertise in sexual abuse and self-injury. They believe in language as a media for activism and transformation:  their poetry frequently addresses themes of trauma and survival, alongside wider issues of community and mutual support.  As an Associate Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, Clare is responsible for establishing writing projects across the UK. They are co-director of the Kendal Poetry Festival; and a regular tutor for the Poetry School, the Wordsworth Trust and the Arvon Foundation.

Jonathon Tomlinson has been a GP in East London for almost 20 years. His clinical practice is grounded in continuity of care and human relationships. His clinical interests are intractable problems like chronic pain. He is chair of trustees for the Centre for Health and The Public Interest and a Trustee for the Shoreditch Trust and a member of the London Aces Hub. His interest in trauma has developed at the same pace as his relationships with his patients. Over years he has learned from them how past and present experiences form constellations that can help to make meaning out of suffering. The associations between adversity, pain and disease are complex, asynchronous and buffered or fueled social circumstances. Working in an area of deprivation he sees how austerity illuminates and amplifies vulnerability.

He is a husband and a dad to boys and a cyclist who rides just a bit faster than his skills permit, so regularly experiences being an NHS patient.

Ruth Beecher in charge of the day-to-day running of SHaME. She is a historian and applied researcher. Her research interests include the history of British and American health and social care, with an emphasis on the history of children and families, the history of the professions and the history and politics of gender, sexuality and sexual violence. Her current project investigates the role of health professionals and feminist survivor activists in relation to early intervention in child sexual abuse in Britain, 1970-2000, using archival research and new oral histories. Prior to the project, she managed a range of family support services in London.