In The Night of the Flood, I write about a catastrophic storm surge which led to terrible flooding along the East Anglian coast in January 1953. This is a real event, although not a hugely well-known one. In the flood, 307 people died in England in various horrific ways – being swept away by a wave, old people dying of hypothermia in cold water, babies being pulled from their parents’ arms. These were real deaths, but the more I researched the flood, and wove the raw material into my novel, the more interested I became in how floods and drowning, or more generally, death by water are portrayed in literature. Read the article.