Our Supporters

Janet Todd

Janet Todd is an internationally renowned novelist and academic, best known for her non-fiction feminist works on women writers including Jane Austen, Aphra Behn and Mary Wollenstonecraft. In recent years, Janet has been writing novels.

Janet has worked in universities around the world including Ghana, Puerto Rico, North America and India. She was a professor of English Literature at UEA, Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities, before becoming president of Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge (2008-2015), Cambridge where she established the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize. She is now an Honorary Fellow of Newnham and Lucy Cavendish Colleges. In 2013, Janet was given an OBE for her services to higher education and literary scholarship.

Of Aphra, Janet says, ‘Aphra Behn is the greatest pioneer of women’s writing in English, excelling across genres, which, until she wrote, were mainly the preserve of men: commercial drama, fiction, public and private erotic poetry, scientific translation and political commentary. In the early 20th century Virginia Woolf wrote that all women should let flowers fall on Aphra Behn’s tomb; a century on, we should honour her even more by giving her a beautiful, playful statue. This should catch the many facets of her extraordinary life and achievement and inform everyone who passes it that this remarkable woman came from Kent.’

Rebecca Rideal

Rebecca is an early modern historian, consultant and author of 1666: Plague, War and Hellfire and the forthcoming God’s Throne. She writes regularly for press and has contributed to numerous TV and radio documentaries, including The Invention of Britain (Radio 4) and Charles I: Killing a King (BBC4). Rebecca is also the founder and director of the history festival, HistFest, and the host of the podcast Killing Time.

Jessica Lambert

Jessica Lambert is a London-based screenwriter, represented by Independent Talent and CAA. She has a passion for gripping, unashamedly entertaining female-led dramas and has worked with BBC Studios, Clerkenwell Films and Playground Entertainment. Her latest TV series – about the extraordinary life of Aphra Behn – was developed with Origin Pictures and is currently being pitched to broadcasters.

"Aphra’s a shockingly modern, real-life 17th century heroine. This is a girl who defiantly forged her way through a sexist society to achieve things no woman had ever done before – rising up from nothing to become a ground-breaking female playwright, a wild bisexual libertine and a witty and seductive Royalist spy. Our series is a sexy fast-paced period drama, told with the same outrageous and iconoclastic mischief with which Aphra lived her life.”

Rosie Duffield MP

Rosie Duffield is the Member of Parliament for Canterbury. Before being elected to Westminster, she was a teaching assistant for many years, so she knows the inspirational power that heroes and heroines of history can have on young people. She has been a member of the Women & Equalities Select Committee and is currently Chair of the Women’s Parliamentary Labour Party. Of Aphra Behn, Rosie says:

"It is unbelievable that in those days an ordinary girl from Canterbury, born without privilege or nobility, could grow up to be England’s first novelist, our first professional female writer, a spy and the creative talent that produced so many funny plays. I can’t believe she isn’t better known, or more widely celebrated. I’m excited to be backing a campaign that will change that."

In her pre-Westminster days Rosie also dabbled in comedy sketch writing (the comedy was put on hold when Rosie won the 2017 election), so she is doubly enthusiastic to be backing a campaign to champion Aphra, a woman who made theatres roar with laughter for nearly twenty years. 

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