Reach Society

Mixed Blessings from a Cambridge Union

Bestselling memoirs of Professor Dame Elizabeth Nneka Anionwu, DBE CBE FRCN PhD, Emeritus Professor of Nursing, University of West London.

Summary of book

‘It’s 1947 and a clever, sheltered Catholic girl of Liverpool Irish working class heritage is studying Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge. She is the first one in her family to go to university – and then she discovers that she’s pregnant. The father is also a student at Cambridge, studying law. And he is African.

The fallout from their affair is dramatic, but despite pressure to give up her baby for adoption, the young woman has other ideas. Their daughter Elizabeth grows up to be a Professor of Nursing at the University of West London – but there are many twists and turns along the way.

What does it mean to be mixed race in Britain? Who are you when told that your origins are ‘half Nigerian, half Irish’? Who are you, growing up as a child in care for nine years, experiencing physical abuse from your stepfather and not finding your Nigerian father until the age of 24?

This incredible story charts a roller coaster journey from the English Midlands to Nigeria, and from suburban health visiting to political activism and radical nursing. This includes campaigning on issues from sickle cell to a statue for Mary Seacole. At the same time it brings social history to life – think ‘Philomena meets Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father’!

This is a heart-warming and inspiring book about childhood, searching for identity, family, friendship, hope and what makes us who we are.’  

Available on Amazon as a paperback (£14.99) and an e-book (£6.99). 

Website: http://www.elizabethanionwu.co.uk

Twitter: @EAnionwu

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SickleToSeacoleMemoirs/

Getting Involved