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Small Town Girl, with Donna McLean [online event]

Wednesday March 23, 2022 @ 7:00 pm 8:30 pm

A memoir from a voice at the centre of the Spy Cops scandal

“You live with someone for two years and then . . . they simply don’t exist.”

Over four decades, British undercover police deliberately and systematically started relationships with women in order to infiltrate protest groups. They lived with these women, some had children with them, and when the job was done they simply left.

It took over ten years for Donna to find out what really happened – and who her fiancee really was. Carlo was an undercover police officer. He targeted Donna and started a relationship with her so he could get close to her activist friends. Carlo had been leading a double life the whole time he was with Donna – with his own wife and son living a short distance away.

We have heard very little from the women at the heart of this extraordinary scandal. Most felt forced to accept anonymity. Donna decided to drop her pseudonym last year so she could tell her story in her own words and under her own name. Small Town Girl is that story.

The great love story of Donna McLean’s life wasn’t just built on lies, it was one. With an inquiry underway, Small Town Girl is a reclamation of a truth that was ruthlessly buried.


Donna McLean is a working class writer, activist and mental health practitioner. She has written for several publications including the Guardian, The Morning Star, The Independent and the Telegraph. Donna has also published several pieces of short fiction, including the 2020 anthology The Middle of a Sentence. Small Town Girl is her first book.

and more tbc


An invitation to this online event will be emailed to you on the day of the event. We will use the email address used to register for this event. Confirmation emails and invitation links sometimes end up in spam folders, so please check there before emailing the shop. Thank you.


If you’d like a copy of the book 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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