First full biography of an international figure, recently in the news after her successful libel case against Andrew Marry, who described her as a terrorist in The Making of Modern Britain
Internationally famous for starting one of the first women's refuges in the modern world, Erin Pizzey is a controversial but hugely-respected activist with enemies on the left and the right, a pioneering figure in the maelstrom of seventies politics, and a key witness of the era. Here, she tells her story in full for the first time. The daughter of a diplomat, Erin Pizzey was born in China in 1939. One of her formative experiences was seeing her parents and brother being put under house arrest by the Maoists in 1949. This instilled a hatred of totalitarian regimes and for a short time Pizzey even worked for MI6 in Hong Kong. Once relocated in the UK, Pizzey was soon swept up by sixties radicalism and the early days of the emerging Women's Liberation Movement. Opening a small community center for maltreated women in Chiswick in 1971 was to bring Pizzey to the front line of what was becoming a national issue in a time when feminists were still treated with hostility and derision by right-wing figures, but also when left-wing radicals scorned anyone, like Pizzey, who put humanity before ideology. By the mid-1970s, Pizzey found herself under bomb threat and picketed by feminists for allowing men to staff refuges: this led to a long exile from the UK where she kept up her activities and achieved international recognition, while also reinventing herself as a best-selling writer. Erin Pizzey's life and trials have been unique; her story is a compelling one, vital to any understanding of a more revolutionary age and burning issues that still resonate today.