A memoir by Penny Pepper
7 September 2017, Published by Unbound | HB £14.99
The extraordinary life of a writer, an activist, a punky pioneer.
A unique portrait of the UK punk-indie and activist scenes of the eighties and nineties.
“A force of nature and a voice like no other” – Liz Carr, actor, comedian, activist.
“Penny Pepper’s work is a virtuoso display of invention, wit and courage. It’s thought-provoking and funny and moving and makes us see the world differently” – Margaret Drabble, novelist, biographer, critic.
Penny Pepper has lived a remarkable four decades as a writer, poet activist, and pioneer. She also happens to be disabled.
In the space of few weeks, Penny Pepper has blocked roads to shake up Whitehall with radical group Disabled People Against Cuts, talked disability sex at the House of Lords and appeared on Channel Four’s Brexit Debate. In her younger days, she won an Erotic Oscar for services to disability sex, corresponded with Morrissey, and Diane Abbott was once her sound roadie. She had support from Ken Livingstone to move to London, wrote to the Pope about animal welfare… and had a reply. And she became a founding voice of the current disability rights movement.
In her absorbing and highly-acclaimed memoir, Penny paints a raucous picture of her young life played out against a backdrop of Thatcher’s battleground Britain through to the Blair honeymoon years – from tales of intense friendships, to accounts of love, loss, music and misadventure.
Craving freedom from the home counties council estates where she grew up, Penny dreams of moving to London and finding her way as a writer, poet and singer in the city’s ground-breaking indie music scene. Lacking what others take for granted, before genuine community care support was established, she captivates audiences, and challenges the 80s and 90s era of the ‘Me’ generation – fighting indifference and bigotry – while having as much fun as she can. Dressed in leather bondage skirts, fishnets, and hair extensions flying – with a song on her lips, vodka in her hand and a clutch of poems to share.
There are parties; there’s sex; there’s music. She exchanges letters and letters – with Morrissey and Robert Wyatt, amongst others. Her cult 12” single, Live Your Life is reviewed in the NME and played on the radio. Her album Spiral Sky is No. 1 in Greece for a week. And she quickly becomes a founding voice of the radical beginnings of the disability rights movement.
This is not a memoir about the disability experience written in a traditional way. First in the World Somewhere is a unique portrait of the UK punk-indie and activist scenes of the eighties and nineties. It is the chronicle of Penny’s early years of activism, of her desire to write and sing – and her struggles – told with startling honesty and a razor-sharp wit, fearless in the face of prejudice.
Get your copy of First in the World Somewhere at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/First-World-Somewhere-Adventures-Scribbler/dp/1783523476/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1499285398&sr=8-2
About Penny Pepper:
A versatile, witty and candid writer and poet, Penny performs and reads across the UK and further afield. Her first poetry collection, Come Home Alive, will be published by Burning Eye Books in 2018. She wrote the taboo-breaking book Desires Reborn in 2012 and in 2013 she won a Creative Future Literary Award. She writes regularly for the Guardian and guests on BBC TV & Radio including Woman’s Hour. She has been included in the Disability Power List three years in a row – a list of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. She is currently finishing work on a novel Fancy Nancy. She lives in London and is available for interview, live events, performances, and to write features.