The World As It Should Be
Eliza Reid was raised near Ottawa in Canada, and moved to Iceland in 2003 when she was 27 years old. In 2016, Eliza’s husband took office as President of Iceland and she became Iceland’s First Lady. In her capacity as First Lady, Eliza has been active in promoting gender equality, entrepreneurship and innovation as well as tourism, sustainability and the country’s writers and rich literary heritage. She was named a UN Special Ambassador and the Sustainable Development Goals in 2017.
Eliza has been published in several newspapers and magazines included a much lauded op-ed in the NY Times on the strange role of the first lady (she’s also delivered a TED talk on the subject). She is also the co-founder of the acclaimed Icelandic Writers Retreat.
Her book Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland’s Extraordinary Women and How They are Changing the World is out on 8 March. Hillary Rodham Clinton describes it as ‘a fascinating window into what a more gender-equal world could look like and why it’s worth striving for’
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11. Pola Oloxiarac39:07Author Pola Oloixarac was born in Buenos Aires and now lives in Barcelona. She has written three novels, and is a regular contributor to The New York Times, El País and La Nación.In 2010, she was chosen as one of Granta's Best Young Spanish Novelists, and more recently she won the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer's Award. Pola’s most recent book, Mona, is about to be published in the UK. It was chosen as a Best Book of the Year by the New York Public Library, Bookforum, AV Club, Lit Hub, Thrillist, and Redbook.
10. Sandi Toksvig, Elif Shafak, Shola Mos-Shogbamimu47:16This special episode was recorded last year as part of our Primadonna Prize event. It features:Sandi Toksvig began her comedy career at Girton College, Cambridge where she found time to write and perform in the first all-woman show at the Footlights as well as achieve a first-class degree. Sandi is well known to UK audiences as a broadcaster from Number 73, Call My Bluff, Whose Line Is It Anyway? QI, and The Great British Bake Off. She has written more than twenty fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults.Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She has published eighteen books, twelve of which are novels. Her work has been translated into fifty languages. In 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people who would make the world better. Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu is a New York Attorney and Solicitor of England & Wales with broad expertise in the financial services industry, an author, public speaker and political commentator featured in mainstream and online media. She founded the Women in Leadership publication as a platform to drive positive change on topical issues that impact women globally through inspiring personal leadership journeys. Her book This Is Why I Resist was published in 2021.Tickets for this year’s Primadonna Prize award, live at Conway Hall on 31 March and featuring Lenny Henry, Kit de Waal and Sandi Toksvig, are now on sale. See our website for details.
9. Kimberly Jones44:30Kimberly Latrice Jones is an American author, activist and filmmaker. She is co-author of the NYT bestselling YA novel, I’m Not Dying with You Tonight and her latest book, How We Can Win: Race, History and Changing the Money Game that’s Rigged.How We Can Win is an expansion of a 7-minute video of Kimberly, filmed in Atlanta whilst she was helping clear up the streets following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police. In it, she uses a Monopoly analogy to explain the history of racism and its impact on Black Americans. The video went viral, and the book is already making the headlines both here and in the US.
8. Angelle Joseph41:38Angelle Joseph is an artist, community worker and broadcaster. As presenter of BBC Suffolk’s Music Introducing show, she is a pioneer of unsigned, undiscovered and under-the-radar music in Suffolk. She has also presented and hosted mixes on BBC Sounds for BBC Introducing, 1Xtra and 6Music. Alongside this, Angelle works with youth and community groups in her local area, and presents the ‘Belongings’ show on BBC Radio Suffolk, which brings people together from different cultures and communities to share their love of music and talk about their work and ideas. This Christmas, Angelle was on the airwaves as part of Radio 1’s takeover, collating the best of 2021 ‘Introducing’ sessions from across all local shows. She’s a rising star of radio, and we’re delighted to say she’s also a Primadonna!
7. Monique Roffey39:08Monique Roffey is a writer, activist and lecturer. She was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and now shares her time between there and her home in London. Monique has published seven books – a memoir and six novels – as well as works of short fiction, essays and literary journalism. Her novel The Mermaid of Black Conch won the Costa Fiction Award and the Costa Book of the Year in 2020, and was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize that same year. It was short-listed for both the Rathbones Folio Award and the Republic of Consciousness Prize in 2021. Monique teaches creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she is currently a senior lecturer. In 2019, she helped set up Writers Rebel, a campaigning group inside Extinction Rebellion.
6. Sabeena Akhtar36:18Sabeena Akhtar is a writer, editor, programmer… and a Primadonna. She has worked in publishing with the radical non-profit Tilted Axis Press, as a curator for Media Diversified, for whom she created an online library of writers of colour, and is the Festival Coordinator of Bare Lit, the UK’s principal festival celebrating remarkable writers in the diaspora.Sabeena co-founded both Primadonna festival in 2019, and Bare Lit Kids, the UK’s first children’s festival showcasing the work of writers of colour. She has also curated for the Breakthrough Festival, a new festival for working-class writers, and is the lead programmer for the WOW – Women of the World Festivals. She has contributed to the 404 Ink title We Shall Fight Until We Win and the Saqi Books title Smashing It, and is the editor of a remarkable anthology Cut From The Same Cloth.
5. Juno Dawson55:46Juno Dawson is a writer, actor and activist, best known for her YA novels including Clean, Meat Market and, most recently, Wonderland.Juno has also written bestselling non-fiction, including the LGBTQ guide This Book Is Gay and The Gender Games: The Problem With Men and Women, From Someone Who Has Been Both.In her podcast, So I Got To Thinking, Juno rewatches classic episodes from Sex and the City before attempting to answer Carrie Bradshaw's questions for the modern day.
4. Pepsi and Shirlie55:02Pop icons Pepsi & Shirlie met outside a tube station in London in 1985 when Pepsi – then Helen – auditioned to join Shirlie, Andrew Ridgely and George Michael as a backing singer in Wham! In 1987 they released their debut solo single Heartache, which reached number 2 in the charts, and was followed by two studio albums (it was kept off the top spot by their close friend George, whose duet with Aretha Franklin – I Knew You Were Waiting – was at number 1). They went their separate ways in the early 90s before working together again singing backing vocals for Geri Halliwell in 2000, following this up with a reunion tour in 2011 and various live performances in the years since. In 2017, they paid tribute to George Michael, alongside Andrew Ridgely, at the Brit awards, following his shocking death on Christmas Day 2016. Most recently they’ve penned their joint autobiography, It's All in Black and White: Wham, Life and Friendship, which was published by Welbeck in September this year.