Join us for Women's History Month this March as we discover the untold histories of female pirates and 'badass women' through the ages.
Drawing on the knowledge of writers, performers and academics involved, we look at the trailblazers who forged their own future in an overwhelmingly male-dominated society.
The series of talks sheds new light on female pirates and women in combat, from Grace O’Malley – the 16th century 'Mistress of the Western Waves' – to pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, all of whom pushed gender and sexual boundaries on the high seas.
The month ends with a different kind of piracy, celebrating the women at the heart of the pirate radio boom of the 1980s and 90s.
Talks are free but you must sign up via Eventbrite to receive the Zoom link and event details.
Find out more about each talk below.
Women's History Month talks
Bonny and Read
Tuesday 2 March | 7-8pm
To kick off Women’s History Month we will be exploring the fascinating lives and legacies of Anne Bonny and Mary Read, pirates of the 18th century.
- Carina Rodney – award winning writer, currently Royal Literary Fund fellow based at Newcastle University. Her original, audio drama series Hell Cats was released in November 2020 as a flagship production for Audible UK. Hell Cats is a large scale, multi-cast retelling of the real life pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read.
- Amanda Cotton – 3D Designer and Artist, recently designed the UK’s first Non-Binary Sculpture of Bonny & Read.
- Jo Cummins, Máiréad Ní Chróinín and Grace Kiely from Moonfish Theatre company, a Galway-based theatre company creating work in English and Irish that is rooted in the limitless possibilities of the imagination, founded in 2006 by Ionia and Máiréad Ní Chróinín. The event features a live performance from their play Bonny & Read, the first play to be written about the famous pirates. The play was written and performed in 2006 and revived for a tour to Edinburgh in 2007.
The Pirate Queen
Tuesday 9 March | 7-8pm
This week we will discuss the incredible achievements of the pirate Grace O’Malley as well as other women in combat. How were they able to enter the culture of war and piracy in a male dominated society, and what happens when their stories are told through a male filter throughout history?
- Anne Chambers – biographer, novelist and screenplay writer, author of ten biographies, including the best-selling Grace O’Malley: The Biography of Ireland’s Pirate Queen, 1530-1603 and the catalyst for the restoration of Grace O’Malley to political, social and maritime history.
- Dr. Julie Wheelwright – author of several history books, including Amazons and Military Maids (1989), The Fatal Lover: Mata Hari and the Myth of Women in Espionage (1992) and Esther: The Remarkable, True Story of Esther Wheelwright (2011). Her most recent publication is Sisters in Arms: Women Warriors from Antiquity to the New Millennium (2020)
Women of Pirate Radio
Monday 15 March | 6-7pm
Pirate radio stations in the UK began as 'offshore' broadcasters, the most famous being Radio Caroline. They provided an alternative to mainstream radio and started the careers of many who went on to become legendary radio DJs. The rebel pirate spirit that began at sea later came inland, and this talks features women who were central to the Pirate radio scene of the 1980s and 90s.
- Chair: DJ Debbie Golt, Radio host and Broadcaster Resonance FM
- Guests: Angie Dee and Carmella Obinyan
Main image: Mary Read, The Duel, from the Pirates of the Spanish Main series for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes