World Book Day 2017

Happy World Book Day!

This year, World Book Day is marking its twentieth year anniversary. It is a joyous and animated celebration encouraging children to read. Across not only the UK, but the globe, children and adults alike will take part in a variety events proclaiming their love of a good read. From dress-as-your-favourite-character parties and putting on plays to story-time and craft workshops, World Book Day hopes to get a book in the hands of as many children as possible.

indiebooks-wbd

 

Here at IndieBooks, we’re joining in on the fun. Already this week, we’ve been sending out free copies of Why Willows Weep to many of our loyal customers.Tomorrow, we’ll be out on the streets handing out free hardbacks of Worrals of the WAAF and A Young Person’s Guide to the Gothic. Fancy a copy yourself? As Worrals of the WAAF is published in conjunction with the Royal Air Force, try heading to the RAF Museum to snag one – they’ll be handing out books to some lucky museum-goers tomorrow.

Won’t be up that way? Well, you might just find a few hidden around the coffee shops near Chancery Lane or spot us up ’round the British Museum. We’ve got towering stacks to give away!

Check our Twitter feed tomorrow if you want to stay in the loop or feel free to tweet us if you want to track us down.

Happy Hunting!

A Woman’s War

Last weekend we visited the LeAnna Leska by Lee Millere Miller exhibition ‘A Woman’s War’ at the Imperial War Museum.

One photo that particularly caught our eye was this brilliant, and very Worrals-esque, shot of Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) pilot Anna Leska.

The ATA was a civilian organisation set up during the Second World War, responsible for ferrying military aircraft (new, damaged and repaired) between airfields, factories and maintenance units – much as Worrals is seen doing in the opening book of the series by Captain W.E. Johns, ‘Worrals of the W.A.A.F’. The ATA’s  role was vital to the war effort: their delivery of aircraft from the factories to the Royal Air Force freed countless numbers of combat pilots for duty in battle.

The ATA employed pilots deemed unsuitable for the Royal Air Force, through age, fitness, or notably, gender. These pilots needed to be capable of flying a large and challenging range of military aircraft in difficult conditions, and at risk from enemy attack.

‘Worrals of the A.T.A’ would have in fact been more accurate than ‘Worrals of the W.A.A.F’, as whilst members of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force were not supposed to pilot planes, over one hundred women served as wartime pilots for the ATA, and Johns actually modelled the character of Worrals on ATA pilots Amy Johnson and Pauline Gower.

Experienced pilot, aviation writer and civil defence commissioner Pauline Gower proposed the establishment of a women’s branch of the ATA, and subsequently headed up this division.

Amy Johnson was a pioneering aviator, being the first female pilot to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930 and setting numerous other long distance records. She joined the newly formed ATA in 1940 and famously lost her life in 1941 in service during a ferry flight, after bailing out into the Thames Estuary. The exact circumstances surrounding her death are still disputed and her body was never recovered.

Their stories, and also that of Lee Miller, are as interesting as a Worrals book, and well worth looking into.

Why we need Worrals (Pt 2)

When Frecks suggests that they ask permission from their Commanding Officer before plunging into their next adventure, Worrals replies: “He’d probably start raising all sorts of objections — you know, not the sort of work for girls, and all that sort of rot.” 

Has the RAF changed that much in the intervening seventy years? This week the case of Group Captain Wendy Williams suggests not. An Employment Tribunal found that she had been discriminated against by the RAF because she was a woman, being passed over for promotion in favour of a less well-qualified male colleague. Perhaps these attitudes are not entirely unconnected to the number of women in the most senior RAF grades: just 6 out of 470. But we think Worrals would have approved of Group Captain Williams for taking on the Top Brass…