As we are celebrating Women’s History this month, I thought that I would go along to one of the Redbridge Libraries events and immerse myself! So I chose A Woman’s Wit, Wisdom and Pratfalls with Joan Ellis and what a great choice it was.
I spent an enjoyable evening at Wanstead Library last night with many other women and a couple of gentlemen listening to the thoroughly engaging author Joan Ellis talk about the women that have shaped and inspired her throughout her life.
As a young woman in the 80s, Joan started out as a copywriter but life was not easy in a male dominated environment where she had to justify her presence and prove herself time and time again. However success prevailed and she ended up writing award-winning ads for big brand names where the highlight of her career was casting a black and white moggie as Humphrey Bogart for a cat food commercial!
This world brought her into contact with celebrities such as Penelope Keith and Felicity Kendal and up and coming stars of today who were little known at that time, such as Jennifer Saunders and Neil Morrissey. She remembers with a flush how Neil once offered her a lift home, and as much as she wanted to accept, she couldn’t leave as she was waiting for Felicity Kendall who had been held up in traffic. Oh how different her life could have been with a man behaving badly!
Joan went on to be a columnist and lecturer, where again she brushed shoulders with stars of today, even moulding some of their careers.
With so much experience under her belt, Joan decided to try her hand at writing novels and penned her first humorous chick lit novel, from her time in Adland! Joan selected parts of her book, I am Ella. Buy me to share with us and gave us the flavour of her challenging, glamourous and colourful past. Bite sized enticers to leave us wanting more.
Joan dipped in and out of her other three books during the evening, sharing snippets from her world and events in her life which drew her to writing three very different types of genres. The Killing of Mummy’s Boy, and Guilt being psychological thrillers, one being linked to a chance meeting on a train with a murderer and the other linked to a death in the family. The final novel, The Things You Missed While You Were Away, is a memoir written for her absent father celebrating her relationship with her mother and daughter. Again we were enticed with bite sized chunks of the stories to reel us in.
My fellow audience members thoroughly enjoyed the trip down memory lane with Joan who received a rapturous round of applause as she concluded the evening by signing copies of her books. I left with two of Joan’s books in hand and found myself eagerly looking forward to beginning my journey with her through her Adland adventures and other exploits.
Women’s History Month concludes on 24 March with Women’s Organisations, a reminiscence session at Gants Hill Library.