Eva Gore-Booth: Collected-Poems. Edited by Sonja Tiernan. Arlen House, 2018.

Description: Eva Gore-Booth was born in 1870 at Lissadell House in County Sligo. Eva’s parents were conscientious landlords and when a second wave of famine swept across the area, during the winter of 1879–80, they opened their food store for any tenant in need. This sense of responsibility for others less fortunate was to have an impact on the Gore-Booth children.

In 1897 Eva rejected her aristocratic lifestyle and moved to the industrial city of Manchester where she lived and worked amongst the working classes, many of whom were Irish emigrants. While in Manchester Gore-Booth became a successful and resourceful trade unionist and social reformer. She established unions for women workers previously ignored by mainstream organisations. In particular, she supported women in occupations thought to be morally precarious such as barmaids, circus performers, flower-sellers and pit-brow lasses. In her most infamous campaign, protecting the rights of women to work as barmaids, she orchestrated the defeat of no less an adversary than Winston Churchill. Due to her determined political campaigning she ousted Churchill from his Manchester constituency at a 1908 by-election, at a time when women had no entitlement to vote in general elections. Gore-Booth worked tirelessly for women’s suffrage and played an instrumental role in achieving votes for women.

As well as her union work and suffrage campaigns, Gore-Booth authored nineteen volumes of published poetry, philosophical prose and drama. She was a persistent contributor to newspapers and journals as well as writing, sometimes politically contentious, pamphlets. She died in 1926 in Hampstead, London with her partner, Esther Roper, by her side.

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