Next week my review of Things a Bright Girl Can Do will be live, so keep an eye out for that!
Things a Bright Girl Can Do is a book about politics, class, feminism and the fierce determination of those who refused to be sidelined from society. The story follows three girls from three completely different backgrounds, and different dreams for their futures, yet with one main goal: to stop their voices from being silenced any longer. However, when Britain enters into War with Germany, their entire world is turned on its head, and the future of the Suffragette movement appears uncertain.
Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...
Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.
Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women's freedom.
May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.
But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?
And today I am absolutely thrilled to be welcoming Sally Nicholls to Delightful Book Reviews, to talk all things feminism, YA literature and why writing about suffragettes is pretty much the best thing ever!
It was actually my editor’s idea. She asked me if I’d like to write a book about suffragettes and I said, “Ooh! Yes please!”
Tell us a bit more about the three main characters, Evelyn, May and Nell. Do you have anything in common with them?
They’re all quite different! There’s Evelyn, who’s seventeen at the start of the book. She wants to go to university, but her parents can’t see the point for a girl. She’s also trying to decide how she feels about her friend Teddy, who is in love with her. She’s quite a prickly sort of character.
May is fifteen when the book opens. She’s been a suffragist all her life, as well as a Quaker, a pacifist and a socialist. May is the most confident character in the book, and can be a bit obsessed with her various causes. But she’s a sweetheart really, and very innocent. She’s also a lesbian, and she’s in love with …
Nell, who is the same age. Nell has never felt at ease in her own skin or her own life. She lives in a two-room flat with her parents and five brothers and sisters, and she’d rather wear breeches and play cricket than get married and have children.
I have a bit in common with all my main characters. Like Evelyn and Nell, I get very uncomfortable and awkward with people who are romantically interested in me, and like Evelyn, I took a long time to make up my mind whether I wanted to get married. Like May, I’m a Quaker, and I generally think well of people – and I’ve been known to argue a point long after I should probably have stopped.
What made you want to write about Suffragettes?
I don’t know – my head just went “Yes, please!” They’re such an emotive subject; young people whose potential is so constrained, fighting for really basic human rights; not just the right to affect political decisions, but the right to get a job, leave home, be treated as an equal to their male peers. And who wouldn’t want to write about women in petticoats with toffee hammers?
What’s so special about YA literature?
As a writer, it’s a great place to sit. I get to write books about all sorts of different topics, from the perspective of young people who are just starting out in life. All the characters in my books are figuring out who they are and what sort of life they want to live, and that’s a very exciting age group to be writing about. It’s also exciting to think that my books are helping to shape how young people think about subjects like feminism and history.
What advice would you offer aspiring writers?
Read a lot. Prioritise writing – make it one of the most important things in your life. Learn from writers you love, but don’t try to be them – be absolutely yourself in your writing.
Sum up Things a Bright Girl Can Do in 3 words!
Feminism, activism, snogging.
Thanks so much for appearing on my blog today, Sally!
Make sure you guys check out the other spots on the blog tour <3
Buy Things a Bright Girl Can Do here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1783445254
Check out Sally Nicholls here: http://sallynicholls.com
Until next time :)