Dead Ladies Show #34: Paula Fox, Doreen Massey & Sister Mary Ignatius

We’re thrilled to be back on stage in Berlin on Monday, May 29th! While we await the next round of funding, we’re financially on our own for 2023, so all three of our talks will be in English, which means your beloved co-hosts Florian Duijsens and Katy Derbyshire, plus long-time favorite Agata Lisiak. Learn all about three impressive women who overcame obstacles, pushed boundaries and gave the world lasting treasures. The aim of the show is to raise money for more podcasts, so we’ve adjusted the non-reduced price to €10, but reduced tickets still cost €4. Buy them at Eventbrite. Doors open 7.30 pm, show starts at 8 pm – come on time to get a good seat!

We have more limited space than usual, since were in the CLUB (not the Studio), so please book in advance. And if you’re looking for an opportunity to get dressed up, you know we always appreciate your favorite finery.


PAULA FOX wrote novels for children and adults, and two memoirs – always a good sign. Her childhood between the USA and Cuba might best be described as itinerant, although harsher adjectives may apply. She had three children, giving the first up for adoption at the age of 21. Her first main job was as a teacher for troubled children, but she began writing in her 40s. Her first novel came out in 1966, the children’s book Maurice’s Room, and the next year she published two more children’s books and one novel for adults. She continued apace, switching to memoir as she approached her 80s. In 2011 she was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame. Paula Fox died aged 93 in 2017.

DOREEN MASSEY was a Marxist social scientist and geographer from the UK. She worked mainly at the Centre for Environmental Studies think tank, and at British early-morning TV fans’ beloved Open University – teaching students who didn’t have access to a traditional university education – and also in Nicaragua, Venezuela and South Africa. That work focused on economic geography and the geography of gender, and she spoke eloquently about place or space as “a pincushion of a million stories”. Her list of publications vies in length with her honors and awards – including a pretty impressive total of six honorary degrees. Like many other utter stars, Doreen Massey declined an OBE. She died aged 72 in 2016.

SISTER MARY IGNATIUS was born in Jamaica as Mary Davies, and became a Sister of Mercy (not the 80s Gothic rock band) at the age of 17. With a short exception, she spent the rest of her life at the Alpha Boys’ School in Kingston, teaching football, cricket, boxing, table tennis and dominoes – but most importantly, music. A lover of jazz and blues, she inspired hundreds of “wayward boys” to become professional musicians, including future Skatalites Tommy McCook and Don Drummond, trombonist Rico Rodriguez and Leslie Thompson, the first black conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Without Sister Mary Ignatius, who died at the age of 81 in 2003, we might never have had reggae.