Suranne Jones, Maya Jama, Gemma Cairney and Anneka Harry give voice to the unsung heroes of history
W.F. Howes signs powerful all-female line-up of celebrity narrators for Gender Rebels audiobook
Suranne Jones, Maya Jama, Gemma Cairney and Anneka Harry have joined forces to narrate Harry’s debut audiobook; Gender Rebels: 50 Influential Cross-Dressers, Impersonators, Name-Changers, and Game-Changers.
The all-female narrator line up will give voice to 50 defiant and daring (wo)men who changed their identities and the rules. Spanning politics, religion, arts, social reform and more this brilliant audio adaptation will bring the trail-blazers of history back to life and reveal how forgotten gender rebels have brought radical change and made a difference.
Acquiring Editor Laura Smith said: "In Gender Rebels we meet 50 women who acted fearlessly, audaciously and with immense courage. Women and girls through history to the present day went against the grain; sometimes out of necessity, sometimes as a conscious rebellion. Each woman pushed forward to create their own unique path – breaking down barriers, taking risks, working hard.
"It seemed only right to bring together four powerful and distinctive voices to tell the stories of the Gender Rebels. Suranne Jones, Maya Jama, Gemma Cairney and Anneka Harry each bring humour, sensitivity, and an unmistakable feminist fire."
BAFTA-winning actor Suranne Jones recently played Anne Lister, subject of the BBC drama Gentleman Jack.
She said:"Gentleman Jack has given me an insight into how powerful these stories can be. Many of the women in Gender Rebels had no choice but to disguise their gender, often risking their lives in the process. They were extremely courageous and that alone is inspiring. Most of the stories in Gender Rebels will be unfamiliar, so making them a part of our history is crucial. It means so much for people who are experiencing their own complex feelings around gender. Anneka Harry’s humour and insight made it a joy to read."
Suranne Jones narrates the stories of Joan of Arc, the fearless soldier saint, Christian ‘Kit’ Cavanagh, the ‘male’ dragoon with a penchant for looting and shooting, and Hatshepsut, the ancient Egyptian powerhouse Queen (king in her own right), among others.
TV and Radio presenter Maya Jama’s star has risen into the stratosphere thanks to her endless enthusiasm, ferocious work ethic and self-belief. She said: "I believe that young women can succeed, no matter where they started from. But girls need to believe in themselves and what they can achieve - which is why I want everyone to listen to Gender Rebels and learn about the people who grabbed life by the balls – girls who hustled, broke the rules, and smashed it. I had a so much fun recording Gender Rebels and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it."
Maya Jama can be heard narrating the stories of June Tarpé Mills, the first female action hero comic character creator, and Florence ‘Pancho’ Barnes, the stunt pilot, party animal and air-speed record-breaker, among others.
Award-winning broadcaster, author and activist Gemma Cairney is committed to empowering young people. Her infectious broadcasting style has been heard on BBC Radio 1, Radio 6Music and BBC Radio 4, and acclaimed television documentaries include The History of Feminism (BBC2).
Gemma said: "Gender Rebels is bloody brilliant! Anneka Harry has achieved something special and I feel inspired and galvanised after reading it. I had a blast recording the audiobook and it is a thrill to be part of this superstellar power-squad of voices."
Gemma tells the stories of Tatiana Alvarez, the dance music DJ in disguise at the decks, Ellen Craft, the slave who pretended to be a white master while cross-dressing herself to freedom, and more.
Author Anneka said: "If you were to ask me which three women I’d want to be stuck in a lift with it would be Gemma Cairney, Maya Jama and Suranne Jones - so I’m delighted we got locked in a recording studio together instead to voice my Gender Rebels audiobook! Recording my debut book alongside this super smart and shiny star line-up was a proper ‘pinch me’ moment. Each of them brought their own unique talent, experience, heart and soul to the stories to make this the absolute boss of audiobooks (...if I do say so myself!)"
The audiobook also features exclusive interviews with each of the narrators. Suranne Jones, Maya Jama and Gemma Cairney each sit down with Anneka Harry to discuss their own gender rebel heroes and feminist role models.
The audiobook, Gender Rebels: 50 Influential Cross-Dressers, Impersonators, Name-Changers, and Game-Changers, (W.F.Howes) releases on 1 June 2020