Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Ten People Who Are Excellent at Being a Girl ....or Definitely Were Excellent Once Upon a Time.

So Thursday June 4th is the day that ‘Being a Girl’ officially hits the bookshops!  To mark this occasion I thought I’d write a quick blog post listing a few of the noteworthy women I hugely admire.  Some of these women have done (or did) extraordinary and brave things and others are on this list simply because they have the attitude of a winner and do creative things which brighten my world. 
I managed to sneak quite a few of these names into the book - I’m not going to tell you which ones though.  You’ll have to read the book or try and second-guess my mind...

So – in no particular order.

            Malala Yousafzai
If ANYONE on this planet is excellent at being a girl, it’s Malala.  Some big tough men with guns were so scared of this teenage schoolgirl that they shot her in the head to stop her going to school.  Did that work? 
And why not?
Because Malala is the bravest person in the world, that’s why. 

           Edith Cavell
A Norwich girl – like me and Gemma Correll*.  Except that Edith Cavell has her own monument outside Norwich cathedral and she also has a very nice and swanky bar/restaurant named after her in Norwich too.
Because Edith was a true heroine.  Or hero if you prefer.  Or even a shero for that matter.
Because, while working as a nurse in Brussels during WW1, she was accused of helping allied soldiers escape from Nazi-occupied Belgium.  Poor Edith was shot by firing squad.  They never taught me about that in my history lessons.       
By the way, the French legendary singer, Edith Piaf, is named after our Edith!  AND HOW COOL IS THAT?

3            Harriet Tubman
I first came across the name of Harriet Tubman when I was working at a school in North London yonks ago.  In the English Department of that school, we taught a whole unit based on Harriet and about how she was a runaway slave in the southern states of America and about how she helped hundreds of other slaves escape to the slave-free states in the north.  We made newspaper articles and Wanted posters and wrote poems about her and everything.  Everyone should know the name of Harriet Tubman.  Just think though – if I hadn’t ever set foot in that school I may never have heard of her!  This is why going to school is good.

4.            J.K Rowling
I’m going to come totally clean with you here.  I’m not a massive Harry Potter fan.  I mean, I’m not an anti-fan or anything!  I don’t dislike those books.  I just – y’know – wouldn’t have them as my chosen specialist subject on Mastermind or anything.  BUT I am a massive fan of JK Rowling. 
Because she’s cool and dignified and pays her proper share of taxes and cares about social issues and writes whatever she wants to write and quietly does her thing and hasn’t gone berserk with all that money she has and turned her back garden into a go-kart track or anything (OK, I’m just assuming now).  Oh, and when she goes on Twitter she TOTALLY OWNS IT.  Well done Missus :)
5                    Neneh Cherry
You are probably saying who?
This is who:

Let me tell you something about Neneh Cherry:
She is sooooooo cool.  Still.

6            Donna Tartt
She writes a novel every ten years.  And every twenty years, it’ll be a novel I love so much that I am left SPEECHLESS by how much of a GENIUS this woman is.

7                    Kim and Kelley Deal
You are probably saying who?
This is who:

Are they good at being girls?
Well they’re certainly very good at being baaaaad girls.  They are pop twins with badattitude and, together, they are responsible for one of my all-time favourite pop tunes, Cannonball.  Kim also played guitar in The Pixies for years.  I can’t IMAGINE how much fun it might (sometimes) be to be a Deal twin.  Thanks to these two, I’ve had hours of air guitar bliss over the years.

Harriet Thompson
I saw Harriet on the news just the other day.  She ran the San Diego marathon and she’s 92!!!!
I couldn’t even be bothered to do a fun-run and I’m only 24!!!

PJ Harvey
I love PJ Harvey.  She isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and I’m glad about that because then she wouldn’t be an acquired taste, would she?  Here she is singing with a dead crow on her head:

Being a Girl is being launched at Norwich Waterstones Friday 5 June 7pm.

*Me and Gemma are both originally from Ipswich though - which can get awkward in Norwich.

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