Once Upon a Time in Birmingham
WOMEN WHO DARED TO DREAM
‘Once Upon a Time in Birmingham’ is a lively introduction to 30 of Birmingham’s most awe-inspiring women, past and present, with illustrations by seven amazing female illustrators. It is a book by Birmingham women about Birmingham women.
I’m honoured to have illustrated five of the 30 portraits including: the world’s first female computer programmer Mary Lee Berners-Lee, women’s rights activist Jessie Eden, Prof Pam Kearns a medic leading the way in new cancer treatments, Dame Elizabeth Cadbury who was instrumental in the development of Bournville village offering workers better living conditions and a pioneer in the field of educational psychology Prof Lea Pearson.
Meet the women who made and are making Birmingham the great city it is today. From pioneers in their field to everyday heroines, these are women who refused to be silenced, who fought for what they believed in, and who proved they were just as good as men – if not better!
‘Once Upon a Time in Birmingham’ has been commissioned by the city council produced in conjunction with female-run city publisher The Emma Press, author Louise Palfreyman and Writing West Midlands. It was published as part of Birmingham City Council’s campaign to mark the centenary of women’s right to vote.
Aimed at pupils aged 11 to 16, the hardback book recounts the compelling stories of female pioneers from all walks of life and is designed to inspire the next generation of children and young people to fulfil their ambitions.
The story of each of the women who “dared to dream” is accompanied by a specially commissioned portrait, created by a team of seven female artists with strong links to Birmingham, either through work, education or living in the city.
All 30 women would have been a dream to illustrate, the five I have illustrated include: (in order of appearance)
Mary Lee Berners-Lee: Literally, the mother of invention. She was the world’s first female freelance programmer, working on the world’s first commercial computer, the Ferranti Mark 1. Also, she was mother of Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web.
Prof Pam Kearns: Honorary consultant at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and heads up the regional CRUK Clinical Trials Unit at Birmingham University, which she has helped win £11m in funding to research better treatments for cancer patients.
Jessie Eden: Campaigned for equal pay for women, led a walkout of 10,000 women at the Lucas factory. She was also a major figure in the 1926 General Strike and campaigned against the Vietnam War as a pensioner.
Elizabeth Cadbury: Developed Bournville village in the early 1900s with her husband George Cadbury, the chocolate manufacturer, to offer workers better living conditions. In 1909 she opened the Woodland Hospital, which later became the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.
Prof Lea Pearson: Pioneer in the field of educational psychology – was the city’s chief educational psychologist for over decade and was also a driving force behind the Conductive Education Centre in Moseley, aimed at teaching children with disabilities.
The book is being launched during Birmingham Literature Festival at The REP’s Studio Theatre at 2pm on Saturday, 13 October 2018.