01 February 2018

Sally Nicholls: Things a Bright Girl Can Do

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Sally Nicholls, author of Ways to Live Forever, visited Sevenoaks in January to give an inspiring talk about suffragettes and their actions.

First of all she explained to us who suffragettes were and how they fought for their right to vote; she focused on those women who took direct action to further their cause. I found the story of how the government had refused to hold law-breaking suffragettes as political prisoners – causing arrested women to hunger fast – particularly shocking. To help us fully understand the horror of the brutality these women endured Sally played two short clips of women talking about their experiences when fighting for their right to vote. They did their best to describe the process in which they were forcibly fed in prisons during a hunger fast and how unsympathetic police were during protests.

The latter half of the talk outlined the plot of her new book Things a Bright Girl Can Do, which follows three girls in 1914 from very different backgrounds, brought together by a need for gender equality and a belief that the world would be a better place if women had the right to vote. As international tensions escalate in the build-up to the First World War, so does pressure on the government to give the suffragettes the right to vote in a society which has more and more women in power.

Henry Hollingworth, Year 9

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