Poet, playwright, novelist and Patron of Humanists UK
Maureen Duffy was born in Worthing, Sussex in 1933. After a tough childhood she took a degree in English from King’s College London and then became a schoolteacher from 1956 to 1961. In 1962 she published her first novel, That’s How It Was, to immediate acclaim. Her first openly lesbian novel was The Microcosm (1966), set in the famous lesbian Gateways club in London. She is said to have been Britain’s first lesbian to ‘come out’ in public, and made public comments during the debates around homosexual law reform. In 1977 she published The Ballad of the Blasphemy Trial, a broadside against the trial of the Gay News newspaper for blasphemous libel.
Her many novels include That’s How It Was (1962), All Heaven in a Rage (1973), Gor Saga (1981),Londoners (1983), Change (1987), and Occam’s Razor (1993). Her Collected Poems, 1949-84 were published in 1985. Her non-fiction books include The Passionate Shepherdess: Aphra Behn, 1640-89(1977) and Men And Beasts: Animal Rights Handbook (1984). She is also a celebrated playwright and poet, and has written biography and other non-fiction. With Brigid Brophy, she made and exhibited 3-D constructions, “Prop Art”, in the 60s. She is co-founder of the Writers’ Action Group, Vice-President of the European Writers’ Congress, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
In July 2001 she was one of the signatories to a letter published in The Independent which urged the Government to reconsider its support for the expansion of maintained religious schools.