My next book is Tastes of Honey, a biography of the working-class playwright Shelagh Delaney (1938-2011), who achieved fame aged nineteen with her play A Taste of Honey. She went on to write award-winning screenplays (including Dance with a Stranger, the 1985 hit about Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged for murder) and radio plays. All of her work foregrounded women’s voices and aspirations. She led an unconventional life that wasn’t about escaping from her working-class roots as much as realising the dreams she and her peers had forged on Salford’s streets. Her generation were the first women to believe they could have it all – sexual and social freedom, fulfilling work and motherhood. We often think of these as demands of the Women’s Liberation Movement of the seventies, but working-class women like Shelagh were thinking and dreaming about a new world back in the fifties. They fought hard to win and pass on their new achievements to future generations. The biography is published in August 2019 by Chatto and Windus. Please see the events page for details of the book launch and related talks and appearances.
The publication of Tastes of Honey coincides with another great event – the National Theatre’s tour of Shelagh’s play A Taste of Honey, which opens in Salford on 13 September 2019.