Untold Stories: The Five. Hallie Rubenhold with Joseph O’Connor
Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders – 1888 – and their murderer, the man known as Jack the Ripper. Author Hallie Rubenhold talks to Joseph O’Connor and sets the record straight, giving these women back their stories. Set just ten years previously, in his latest novel Shadowplay, O’Connor reveals the hidden stories of Bram Stoker’s life.
Hallie Rubenhold is a former museum curator and social historian who has made her name by discovering and bringing to the public attention the stories of previously unknown women. Her first book, The Covent Garden Ladies, (The History Press, 2005) recounts the history of The Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies, the notorious 18th century guide to prostitutes. The Covent Garden Ladies has become a cult sensation and not only was the subject of a BBC 4 documentary presented by Hallie, but has been singlehandedly responsible for reviving an interest in the material amongst academics, artists, film makers, writers and designers. The Five has won numerous awards, including the Baillie Gifford prize for non fiction and the Goodreads Reader award.
Novelist, screenwriter, playwright and broadcaster, Joseph O’Connor is the author of nine novels including Star of the Sea, Ghost Light (Dublin One City One Book novel 2011) and Shadowplay . Among his awards are the Prix Zepter for European Novel of the Year, France’s Prix Millepages, Italy’s Premio Acerbi, an American Library Association Award and the Irish Pen Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature. His work has been translated into forty languages. In 2014 he was appointed Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick.