Helen Forrester, the author who spawned a genre of gritty, working-class memoir with her book, Twopence To Cross The Mersey, is to be honored with a blue plaque as part of her 100th birthday celebrations. The unveiling will take place on Friday 21st February at her childhood home in Hoylake on the Wirral Peninsula.
Forrester wrote a further three volumes of best-selling autobiography, Liverpool Miss, By The Waters Of Liverpool and Lime Street At Two. Her writing was characterized by a lack of self pity and an unsettling honesty as she portrayed her life during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Kate Bradley, Senior Commissioning Editor, HarperFiction said, “I’m delighted that Helen’s contribution to Liverpool’s rich cultural history is being honored on what would have been her 100th birthday.
Helen’s bookswere gut-wrenchingly honest about her experience growing up in Liverpool, but it’s her humanity and passion for life that always shines through and it’s this tenderness and understanding that have made the books enduringly popular with readers.”
Throughout her teenage years, Forrester worked for a charitable organisation in Liverpool and it was this period in her life that provided the background for many of her books, including By The Waters Of Liverpool, which has recently been turned into a brand new stage play.
The show opens at the Floral Pavilion Theater in New Brighton on 3 March, just a few miles from her birthplace, and will then embark on a 17-theatre national UK tour.
Helen was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Liverpool in 1988 and by the University of Alberta in 1993. She died aged 92 on 24 November 2011 in Edmonton, Alberta. Her writing continues to inspire readers around the world.
Playwright and friend of Helen, Rob Fennah, explains: “Once we’d got to know each other, I asked if I could adapt Twopence To Cross The Mersey into a stage play. I’d dabbled in theatre before with some moderate success. Helen agreed, but on the strict understanding she had final approval.
‘After all Rob’, she reminded me, ‘this is my life!’ Helen flew from her Canada home to attend the première at the Empire Theater in Liverpool and it went on to become hugely successful. Although Helen is no longer with us, she is always in my thoughts.
While I was adapting By The Waters Of Liverpool, I imagined her looking over my shoulder, checking that all the little details were correct and in order. It’s a real privilege to be entrusted with her most famous works, but also a huge responsibility.”
Actors, Sian Reeves and Mark Moraghan, who play Helen’s Mother and Father in the new stage production, will unveil the blue plaque at 5 Warren Road in Hoylake on Friday 21st February at 12pm, a place featured heavily in Helen’s work.
Helen’s son, Robert Bhatia, concluded: “My family and I will be flying over from our home in Canada to be at the unveiling of the blue plaque and to attend the opening of By The Waters Of Liverpool.
The partnership between playwright Rob Fennah and my mother Helen, and her legacy, has been outstanding”.
Further information on the UK tour of By The Waters Of Liverpool can be found atwww.bythewatersofliverpool.com