Manchester University Press (1998, 2010)


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‘A compelling biography of the Jamaican-born activist’

- Margaret Busby, Sunday Times

‘A balanced and genuinely inspiring appraisal…'

- Kevin Le Gendre, Independent on Sunday

‘Delia Jarrett-Macauley is to be congratulated in creating this finely written, detailed, narrative which opens up black life from an era often untouched by the written word'

- Chris Searle, Tribune

'Una Marson is the woman at the centre of that famous photograph of the war-time BBC World Service team which includes George Orwell and T.S Eliot. The little-known story of this young Jamamican daughter of a strict Baptist upbringing, who emigrated to London in the 1930s and became a writer and poet, political activist, feminist and broadcaster is painstakingly excavated from limited sources and sensitively evoked in this poignantly biographical narrative by Delia Jarrett-Macauley. Una Marson’s story bridges the gulf between the ‘coloured’ middle-class world of pre-independence Jamaica, the literary life of war-time London and the emerging ‘politics of colour’ of the inter-war years. The book vividly recaptures the courageous struggle of this talented Jamaican woman to live an independent and racially conscious life in the years before the ‘mass’ Caribbean migration of the ‘60s. A significant contribution to the work of historical memory.'

- Stuart Hall

‘An excellent book, a very readable biography of a fascinating woman who led a varied and in many ways an exciting life. Thoroughly researched and well documented, this is a major event in the field of Caribbean cultural studies.’

- Dr Stewart Brown, University of Birmingham

‘A work of sustained and original scholarship, this book will pave the way for further study of Una Marson, her contemporaries and the various organisations and causes with which she was associated.’

- John Thieme, University of Hull

‘Delia Jarrett-Macauley’s loving biography of pioneer Jamaican feminist, poet, playwright and social reformer, Una Marson, reveals a remarkable individual and gives insight into the circle of Afro-Caribbeans who resisted colonialism in the 1920s and 30s. This is a scholarly work, deftly written, which examines Una Marson’s achievements as a writer, campaigner and broadcaster, as well as the complext psychological strains which shadowed her later years.’

- Shiela Rowbotham, University of Manchester

‘This work traces the life history of the perhaps little known Jamaican writer, feminist, broadcaster, social worker and political activist. Delia Jarrett-Macauley has done a great service by researching and recounting the life of this remarkable woman and adding further to our knowledge of the history of black people in Britain.'

- Hakim Adi, Black and Asian Studies Association

‘An excellent biography of a previously little known woman….it is time Una Marson got some credit.’

- Caroline Benn, North West Labour History