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Daring to Hope: My Life in the 1970s, with Sheila Rowbotham [online event]

Wednesday November 17, 2021 @ 7:00 pm 8:30 pm

In this powerful memoir Sheila Rowbotham looks back at her life as a participant in the women’s liberation movement, left politics and the creative radical culture of a decade in which freedom and equality seemed possible. She reveals the tremendous efforts that were made to transform attitudes and feelings, as well as daily life.

After addressing the first British Women’s Liberation Conference at Ruskin College, Oxford in 1970, she went on to encourage night cleaners to unionise, to campaign for nurseries and abortion rights. She played an influential role in discussions of socialist feminist ideas and her books and journalism attracted an international readership.

Written with generosity and humour Daring to Hope recreates grassroots networks, communal houses and squats, bringing alive a shared impetus to organise collectively and to love without jealousy or domination. It conveys the shifts occurring in politics and society through kernels of personal experience. The result is a book about liberation in the widest sense.


Sue O’Sullivan joined the Tufnell Park women’s liberation small group.  At the end of February 1970, when 8 1/2 months pregnant, she attended the Ruskin conference in Oxford with her then husband and two-year-old toddler. Fifty years + later she staggers on, still a feminist, still a socialist – the same and very different – personally and politically.   Sue has been involved in a number of feminist publishing projects over the years including the WLM’s early Shrew, then on to Red RagSpare RibFeminist Review, and ICW News (International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS). Most recently she participated in creating the Hackney HOWLERS (History of Women’s Liberation) Writing Women into History booklet.  She was also a dedicated member of the Sheba Feminist Publisher Collective in the 80s  and has edited, co-edited, and written a number of books and pamphlets.  Through it all (or much of it) she’s been active in lesbian feminist, anti-racist, and women’s health and sexual politics. 

Sheila Rowbotham who helped start the women’s liberation movement in Britain, is known internationally as an historian of feminism and radical social movements. She is the author of the ground-breaking books Women, Resistance and RevolutionWoman’s Consciousness, Man’s World; and Hidden from History. Her other works include Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century; the biography Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love, shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize and winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Biography, and Rebel Crossings: New Women, Free Lovers and Radicals in Britain and the United States. Verso have also reissued her memoir Promise of a Dream: Remembering the Sixties, as part of the Feminist Classic series. Her latest book is Daring to Hope: My Life in the 1970s. Her poetry and two plays have been published and she has written for newspapers and journals in Britain, the US, Italy, Brazil, Turkey, Sweden and Sri Lanka. She lives in Bristol.


An invitation to this online event will be emailed to you on the day of the event. Ticketholders will also be able to access the event via the eventbrite page.


There are various tickets available for this event: If you’d like a copy of Daring to Hope then choose the book plus entry ticket. If you’d like to support Housmans then please choose a solidarity ticket. There’s also a free access ticket for students, low income and unwaged comrades.

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