Simon Garfield

A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt

Saturday 17th September 2016

Simon Garfield
A Notable Woman, Simon Garfield

‘What a find! Jean’s voice sings across the decades, fresh, vivid and desperate for love – a woman with so much to offer, who kicks against the stuffy society in which she finds herself. I grew to love her sharp observations, her vulnerability and her passion.’ Deborah Moggach

Simon Garfield first discovered Jean Lucey Pratt when he read some of her diary entries at the Mass Observation Archive in 2002 as part of a research project. Her voice stayed with him and many years later he was invited to read the rest of her utterly absorbing journals by her niece Babs. Carefully edited from 45 exercise books containing over a million words, A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt chronicles Jean’s life and thoughts from her schoolgirl crushes as a 14 year old to a few weeks before she died. Frank, intimate, joyous and extremely funny, they offer snapshots of different stages of her life from budding architecture student to keen gardener, biographer, cat-lover and bookseller. Aptly, they also offer a social history of Britain and its shifting landscape for women between 1925 and 1986.

Simon Garfield is the author of 16 acclaimed books of non-fiction including To The Letter, My Dear Bessie, Just My Type, The End of Innocence and On The Map. Like Jean, his words and his insights into the world are undoubtedly his craft and trade.

Simon will be in conversation with author and Observer writer Rachel Cooke.