Novelist and travel writer Ethel Mannin (1900-1984) was popular in her lifetime. Born in London to an Irish family, her father, a member of the Socialist League, passed his left-wing beliefs to her.
Her writing career began in the fields of journalism and copywriting, and her memoir of the 1920s, Confessions and Impressions, was published as one of the first Penguin paperbacks. Ethel Mannin came to support anarchism, and was also involved with anti-imperialist activity during the 1930s on behalf of the African nations. In her seventies, she still described herself as an anti-monarchist Republican, and a ‘Tolstoyan anarchist’. She married twice, had one daughter, a publicised affair with Bertrand Russell, and was the long-time chairwoman of Shrewsbury Town FC.
“I am purely evil;
Hear the thrum
of my evil engine;
Evilly I come.
The stars are thick as flowers
In the meadows of July;
A fine night for murder
Winging through the sky.”
(From ‘Song of the Bomber’)
Ethel Mannin’s extensive bibliography can be found here.
– Sheffield Hallam’s Reading 1900-1950 project tackles Mannin’s 1930 work Confessions and Impressions.
– The Neglected Books Page write more about Mannin’s fascinating life here.
– Here is a fascinating essay by the Morris Society about the Morrisian emphasis upon her work.