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Rebel Writers: The Accidental Feminists Reviews

Rebel Writers: The Accidental Feminists by Celia Brayfield

Rebel Writers: The Accidental Feminists: Shelagh Delaney * Edna O'Brien * Lynne Reid-Banks * Charlotte Bingham * Nell Dunn * Virginia Ironside * Margaret Forster

Celia Brayfield

3.40 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Bloomsbury Caravel
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication date: 25 Jul 2019
ISBN: 9781448217496
3 stars out of 5
Sarah Ditum
17 Aug 2019

"these rebel writers have a perfect audience in the angry young women of the 21st century"

Shelagh Delaney, Edna O’Brien, Lynne Reid Banks, Charlotte Bingham, Nell Dunn, Virginia Ironside and Margaret Forster never thought of themselves as a movement, but they ‘shared an inner place, the territory of girlhood,’ writes Brayfield. So far, so convincing — and her subjects have enough social range and personal incident between them, from Delaney’s Salford slums to the aristocratic Bingham’s Kensington, that any book about them would be going some to be boring.


4 stars out of 5
Lucy Scholes
16 Aug 2019

"entertaining, edifying and important reading"

There were also efforts to undermine their creative integrity. Some had their writing dismissed as autobiography — a fate women writers still suffer today — while what others wrote was considered too authentic. Dunn’s books, for example, were often derided as reportage rather than fiction, with her “acute ear for dialogue” and episodic structure “turned against her”. Brayfield, however, offers us perceptive analysis of the writing and ratifies these women’s position in the canon in the process.

3 stars out of 5
20 Jul 2019

"It wasn’t just Angry Young Men who changed Britain"

What, then, does Brayfield want? Ideally that we should go back and re-read these works. They repay the effort. Second, we should register their social importance — something that, as she complains, has largely slipped literary history’s notice. What I would recommend is that Virago should bring out a commemorative packet, with fighting introductions by Professor Brayfield. Lest we forget what literature, in creative hands, can do.