Beatrix Campbell OBE (born 1947) began her lifelong career as a writer working on The Morning Star, Time Out and Marxism Today. In 1972, she joined with others to found the Marxist Feminist journal Red Rag that affirmed Women’s Liberation as the “political movement which emerges as women’s response to their own oppression”. 

That was the context in which she fell in love with women, and she recalls how relatives and old friends would say, ‘But you don’t look like a lesbian!’ To which she replied, ‘I don’t look like a journalist either, or a gardener, or a cyclist, or needlewoman, or a great aunt…in fact, I reckon I don’t look like anything – except that I look like a woman.

By the end of the 1970s, Bea was working for Time Out where, in 1981, she was involved in a long strike and occupation over equal pay and the right of staff to be consulted about major investments. Together with the majority of the staff she was involved in launching the alternative, cooperatively-owned London magazine, City Limits.

Through the 1980s, her writing focused on Thatcher’s neo-liberal transformation of Britain. She undertook a six-month journey around England, researching Wigan Pier Revisited, her polemical critique of George Orwell‘s The Road to Wigan Pier. And in 1987, she wrote The Iron Ladies: Why Do Women Vote Tory? Both books were published by Virago Press. Since then she has written about the politics of community, crime, sex and equality.  

Her forensic reporting on the Cleveland child abuse case led to the publication of Unofficial Secrets: Child Abuse – The Cleveland Case in 1988 (Virago Press), a subject to which she has recently returned. Her new book Secrets and Silence: Uncovering the Legacy of the Cleveland Child Sexual Abuse Case, published in 2023, by Policy Press, exposes a government cover-up that has had a devastating impact on the practices and policy of child protection. She received a standing ovation by more than 1000 women at the book launch at the October 2023 FILIA conference. 

Her other books include: Goliath: Britain’s Dangerous Places (1993), Methuen Books; Diana, Princess of Wales: How Sexual Politics Shook the Monarchy (1998), Women’s Press; End of Equality, Oberon Books; Agreement: The State, Conflict and Change in Northern Ireland (2008), Lawrence & Wishart; End of Equality (2014), Seagull. 

With Judith Jones, her great love for 30 years, she has been active in campaigns against sexual violence against women and children, and together they co-wrote the acclaimed plays And All the Children Cried and Blame.Bea was voted a Rainbow List National Treasure in 2014 and she has been awarded several honorary doctorates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *