First Review for Built on Bones!

So, I spent this week doing a lot of things. One of my favorites was freaking about my photoshopped proximity to lifetime hero author Neil ...

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Accidental discoveries: Annie Besant, campaigner, socialist, and scourge of phossy jaw.

As part of the long process of thinking about the book (especially now that people are reading it, and asking awkward questions like 'wait how do the genetics of pig domestication work again?') I've been doing some additional writing. This was a longer piece for Guardian Cities that I really enjoyed thinking about; I've now decided Annie Besant is one of my personal heroes.


She's been arrested* for everything you ought to be arrested for as a Victorian lady - feminism, reproductive rights, atheism, and anti-colonialism.  Besant was a rather prolific writer who turned her talent into a crusaders' sword -- she wrote passionately about injustice, and had a special feeling for those women who felt the hand of opprobrious society most heavily. In 1888, she wrote about a kind of 'white slavery' in London's East End, starting off a torrent of accusation and retribution by match moguls that resulted in the London Matchgirls strike and, eventually contributing to the banning of toxic white phosphorous that caused 'phossy jaw'.


I thought it an apropos kind of hero for Women's History Month, given the TrowelBlazers beacon I sent up in the sky (ok, Guardian) calling for a return to activism for International Women's Day.



So, as the furore and excitement of IWD settles back down, I hope everyone has a chance to trawl through the pages of history and find their Annie. And then gets up and does something about it :)



*ok, not always arrested as such. But usually arrested.

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Trivia (personal)

archaeologist. dental anthropologist. yes, that's a real thing. Author of Built on Bones, available in February 2017 (UK), May 2017 (USA) from Bloomsbury.

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