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Showing posts from October, 2021

My Month in Books: October 2021

Both of the books I've selected this month look at different societies - one imagined in the future, the other real and in the past. For fiction there's Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower , and non-fiction is City of Beasts: How Animals Shaped Georgian London by Thomas Almeroth-Williams. Parable of the Sower , Octavia E Butler (Headline Publishing, 2019, first published 1993) Dystopian fiction is gloomy, isn’t it? Especially when it’s all too horribly believable. Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower posits a world confronting catastrophic climate change; an equality gap which has grown to such proportions that life is a bloody battle between the hungry homeless and the fed and housed who live behind protective walls; a violent drug culture; and privatisation of just about everything. It’s the world you get if racism, inequality, capitalism, fundamentalism, gun culture, and eco crime are allowed to run rampant. Fifteen-year-old Lauren Oya Olamina seems to be the

Spotlight on...Mabel Harriette Cross, Suffragist

Usually referred to as Mrs W C H Cross, she was born Mabel Harriette Duncan in Bristol in 1872. Her mother was Adelaide, and her father, Edward Duncan, was a tea wholesaler. In the 1880s the family were living in Westbury-on-Trym near Bristol. By the time of the 1901 Census the family had moved to Clifton. Mabel does not appear with them on the Census however, and it is possible that at this time she was training or working as a nurse. A Mabel Duncan is recorded on the 1901 Census as a “sick nurse” in Weston-Super-Mare. At some point Mabel was a district nurse in London. She was back in Bristol in the early 1900s when she was honorary secretary of the Women’s Reform Union (WRU). The WRU had been formed by Quaker sisters and suffragists Anna Maria and Mary Priestman. In 1908 Mabel Duncan and Sarah Jane Tanner organised a Bristol WRU contingent to join the NUWSS procession on 13 June which culminated in a meeting in the Albert Hall in London.  Mrs Millicent Garrett Fawcett (second woman