Nuala Calvi

Writer

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Books

Nuala Calvi grew up in London and trained as a journalist at London College of Printing, before writing for the Times, the Independent, the Guardian, the BBC and CNN.  She is the co-author, with Duncan Barrett, of a trio of Sunday Times Top 10 bestsellers: The Sugar Girls (Harper 2012), which was ranked second in the history bestsellers of 2012, GI Brides (HarperCollins 2013), which was also a New York Times bestseller in America, and The Girls Who Went to War (Harper Element 2015). 

Praise for THE GIRLS WHO WENT TO WAR: 

"The pairing of Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi – authors of the bestselling The Sugar Girls and GI Brides – has come up trumps again with this compilation of true stories of women who went to war in WW2. ... This snapshot into their lives will remain long after you turn the final page."  - Family Tree magazine

Praise for THE SUGAR GIRLS:

"This vivid and richly readable account of women’s lives in and around the Tate & Lyle East London works in the Forties and Fifties is written as popular social history, played for entertainment. If it doesn’t become a TV series to rival Call The Midwife, I’ll take my tea with ten sugars" - BEL MOONEY, THE DAILY MAIL (BOOK OF THE WEEK)

Praise for GI BRIDES:

"This is a treasure box of testimonies from a very different world, and one that will soon slip from living memory. Kudos to the authors for capturing these memories for posterity, and in such a readable, touching way” – THE LONDONIST

 

Non-Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes

THE GIRLS WHO WENT TO WAR

2015

HarperCollins

The personal accounts of three young women who joined up in 1940.
In the summer of 1940, Britain stood alone against Germany. The British Army stood at just over one and a half million men, while the Germans had three times that many, and a population almost twice the size of ours from which to draw new waves of soldiers. Clearly, in the fight against Hitler, manpower alone wasn’t going to be enough.
Eighteen-year-old Jessie Ward defied her mother to join the ATS, Margery Pott signed up for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, and nanny Kathleen Skin the WRNS. They left quiet homes for the rigours of training, the camaraderie of the young women who worked together so closely and to face a war that would change their lives for ever.
Overall, more than half a million women served in the armed forces during the Second World War. This book tells the story of just three of them – one from the Army, one from the Navy and one from the Air Force. But in their stories are reflected the lives of hundreds of thousands of others like them – ordinary girls who went to war, wearing their uniforms with pride.

GI BRIDES

2013

HarperCollins

The “friendly invasion” of Britain by over a million American G.I.s bewitched a generation of young women deprived of male company during the Second World War. With their exotic accents, smart uniforms, and aura of Hollywood glamour, the G.I.s easily conquered their hearts, leaving British boys fighting abroad green with envy. But for girls like Sylvia, Margaret, Gwendolyn, and even the skeptical Rae, American soldiers offered something even more tantalizing than chocolate, chewing gum, and nylon stockings: an escape route from Blitz-ravaged Britain, an opportunity for a new life in affluent, modern America.
Through the stories of these four women, G.I. Brides illuminates the experiences of war brides who found themselves in a foreign culture thousands of miles away from family and friends, with men they hardly knew. Some struggled with the isolation of life in rural America, or found their soldier less than heroic in civilian life. But most persevered, determined to turn their wartime romance into a lifelong love affair, and prove to those back home that a Hollywood ending of their own was possible.

THE SUGAR GIRLS

2012

World All Languages: Collins

In the years leading up to and after the Second World War thousands of women left school at fourteen to work in the bustling factories of London’s East End. Despite long hours, hard and often hazardous work, factory life afforded exciting opportunities for independence, friendship and romance. Of all the factories that lined the docks, it was at Tate and Lyle’s where you could earn the most generous wages and enjoy the best social life, and it was here where The Sugar Girls worked. Through the Blitz and on through the years of rationing The Sugar Girls kept Britain sweet. The work was back-breakingly hard, but Tate & Lyle was more than just a factory, it was a community, a calling, a place of love and support and an uproarious, tribal part of the East End. From young Ethel to love-worn Lillian, irrepressible Gladys to Miss Smith who tries to keep a workforce of flirtatious young men and women on the straight and narrow, this is an evocative, moving story of hunger, hardship and happiness.

Tales of adversity, resilience and youthful high spirits are woven together to provide a moving insight into a lost way of life, as well as a timeless testament to the experience of being young and female.