I’m a poet and fiction writer living in the Lake District. I’ve recently published Hail Sisters of the Revolution, a collection of poems about my time in the Women’s Liberation Movement of the mid-1970s, with photographs by Andrew Scott. Creating this book was a joy: it took me back to a time of idealism and hope. I’d moved to London with a group of friends, where we set about forming a women’s band, finding somewhere to live, and finding jobs to support ourselves. It was hard work but huge fun, as you’ll see from the poem below. If you lived through those times, or if you’d like to know more about the women’s movement back then, you’ll enjoy this book. You can buy a copy for £10 by emailing me at email@example.com
They Changed the World
Let me praise those sisters bundled into creaky houses
who could Sassoon a thicket of hair with a bent brush
and a fan heater, wire up the cassette recorder
to a two-pin plug socket, and swallow a friend’s rant
about bloody men like a buttery crumpet.
Nightly, they returned to raggedy nests dragging
curtain poles, a kitchen table, cooker cable, drum sticks,
mars bars, guitar strings. One bell-rung Sunday
they jiggled a mattress in the jaws of the tube train doors
and floated it home on their heads. Nightly, over plates
of vegetable crumble they swapped tales
of high-strung prancers, wriggle-hip chancers,
underground wankers, cervix watchers, council nasties.
They sat in the outside toilet watching spiders
weave their webs amid the scents
of crushed grass and run-wild mint,
and boiled five kettles and a saucepan to fill a tin bath
They were beer swillers, women’s libbers,
bolshie sheilas, good, industrious worker bees.
They changed the world.
I’ve also recently published two books of crime fiction, set in North Norfolk, featuring a badly behaved ex-journalist. The Terrace and The Peasmash Players, two murder mystery novels featuring Rags Whistledown, a funky but flawed forty-something who moves to Norfolk after being driven out of London by a combination of misfortune and debt. Both are available on Amazon or directly from me.
I also write literary fiction; my short stories have appeared in Mslexia and The London Magazine, and have won national short story awards. I’m currently working on a World War 2 novel featuring a badly behaved woman left in London on her own when her husband joins the army and her daughter is evacuated. It has a more literary flavour than my North Norfolk novels, but is similar in that it features a powerful, lovable but flawed female protagonist.
Caroline Gilfillan was brought up in a sleepy Sussex town and soon escaped to Paris (where she lived in a garret and worked as an au pair). She spent her formative years in east London writing, playing drums and singing loudly in women’s bands, and worked in publishing and education in between her creative projects. A fiction writer, poet, and dramatist, she was selected for the Escalator scheme for fiction writers, and awarded a grant from Arts Council England to develop her novels. She was a winner of Channel 4’s The Radio Play’s the Thing competition, and her poems and short stories have appeared in The London Magazine, Poetry News and Mslexia. She’s published four collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Hail Sisters of the Revolution.