Beatrix Campbell is a writer, broadcaster, blogger and playwright – and political activist. A commissioner on the National Women’s Commission (before it was abolished by the Coalition government), she was awarded the OBE for services to equality.
She has been a journalist since she was 19 years old. Her books have received awards, and she has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by four universities.
Beatrix Campbell is part of the generation that was educationally split by the 11-plus; like most children, she failed; after leaving school she became a journalist and activist in left-wing and feminist politics. In addition to her own writing, she has supported writing among offenders in prisons, students in universities and young people in organisations working with children who have been abused and exploited.
A well-known and rousing speaker, her work has been rewarded by several prizes, an OBE and honorary doctorates. She was in the 2012 World Pride Power List of the 100 most influential gay people.
Her latest book, End of Equality, is a manifesto for the 21st century, it argues that the ‘old equality paradigm of the twentieth century’ has reached its limits. Worse, the new world order is the enemy of equality. Making links between sex, money, violence and bodies, she argues that inequalities – and resistance – are rising.
Reviews of End of Equality:
‘a jewel of a book’ - Caroline Criado-Perez
‘this breathtakingly unfuriating book simply makes sense….terse but perfectly formed sentences tumble over each other …a stream of beautiful, heart-swelling prose’ - Trouble and Strife Trouble and Strife 14 April 2014
‘Beatrix Campbell is in many ways the quintessential British writer…’
- New Statesman 11-17 July 2014
2014 End of Equality
2008 Agreement! The British State, conflict and change in Northern Ireland
2007 Blame, a play co-authored with Judith Jones
2003 And All the children Cried, a play co-authored with Judith Jones 1998 Diana, Princess of Wales – How Sexual Politics Shook the Monarchy
1993 Goliath – Britain’s Dangerous Places
1988 – revised in 1998 Unofficial Secrets, The Cleveland Child Abuse Controversy
1987 The Iron Ladies
1984 Wigan Pier Revisited
1982 Sweet Freedom, co-authored with Anna Coote
Books in brief:
Beatrix's first book (jointly written with Anna Coote) in 1981 was Sweet Freedom, about the Women’s Liberation Movement. And her latest, published in 2014, End of Equality has prompted many speaking arrangements, and even a fan club.
Virago commissioned her to re-trace George Orwell’s classic, The Road to Wigan Pier. Her version, Wigan Pier Revisited, a polemic about poverty, politics and George Orwell himself, won the Cheltenham Literature Festival Prize in 1984.
In the 1980s, the advent of Thatcherism and the curious case of the Conservative Party’s historic base among women voters, prompted her analysis of women and the right: The Iron Ladies. She covered the watershed child abuse controversy in Cleveland, in the North-|East of England: Unofficial Secrets;
In the 1990s she wrote about violence, community and gender: her analysis of British riots, Goliath – Britain’s Dangerous Places; prompted polarized reviews;
Will Self: ‘A book for everyone in modern Britain….a book dense in aullusion and argument. The great sadness that it exposes is that, on all sides of the divides of race, gender and class, there are voices of great compassion and reasonableness….despite the alarm bells that a ‘feminist’ analysis may raise …Campbell never descends to doctrinal tub-thumping…’ - Sunday Times 18 July 1993
Melanie Phillips: ‘Bea Campbell is a polemicist who filters everything through the prism of feminist analysis. This undermines her skills as a witness….undermines the impact of the disturbing portrait Campbell paints of disintegrating society.’ - The Observer, 18 July 1993
For two decades she covered Northern Ireland’s ‘parallel peace process’ and state collusion in killings, culminating in 2007 in her book, ‘Agreement! Conflict, change and the British state in Northern Ireland’ about its uniquely egalitarian peace treaty.
Somewhat to her own surprise, and provoked by Princess Diana’s revelations about her life in the royal family, she published a republican critique: Diana Princess of Wales – How Sexual Politics Shook the Monarchy, after her death.
She has written two acclaimed plays with Judith Jones: And All the Children Cried, and Blame.
Festival appearances 2014:
Hay on Wye: How the Light Gets In
Bristol Festival of Ideas
Ilkley Literature Festival