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Red Ellen

Red Ellen

By Caroline Bird
Imprint: Nick Hern Books
Paperback : 9781839040665, 112 pages, March 2022


Forever on the right side of history, but on the wrong side of life, Labour MP Ellen Wilkinson is caught between revolutionary and parliamentary politics as she fights for a better world.

Battling to save Jewish refugees in Nazi Germany; campaigning for Britain to aid the fight against Franco's Fascists in Spain; leading two hundred workers in the Jarrow Crusade against unemployment and poverty... she pursues each cause with a passionate, reckless conviction.

And yet – despite a life spent running into the likes of Albert Einstein and Ernest Hemingway, serving in Churchill's cabinet, having affairs with communist spies and government ministers – she still finds herself, somehow, on the outside looking in.

Caroline Bird's play Red Ellen is the remarkable true story of an inspiring and brilliant woman.


"Often moving and not afraid to tackle big subjects, with humour and playfulness."

- The Stage

"Not just a tribute to a pioneering woman, independent and sexually liberated, but also an analysis of the left's fraught struggle for equality. Red Ellen crackles with modern day resonances."

- Guardian

"An inspiring and remarkable new play... deeply compelling, often humorous and very moving... It will blow you away."

- WhatsOnStage