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(25 May 1951 – 24 September 2010) was a British novelist and historian, particularly of the local history of the East End of London where she was born and raised. This site has been created for Gilda’s existing readers and those may be interested in her work.
Gilda O’Neill, born 1951 in Bethnal Green, left school at 15 and after bringing up her family, she returned as a mature student gaining three degrees before becoming a full-time published writer in 1990. Her first book Pull No More Bines, a study of hop picking Kent reached new audiences, perhaps because Gilda was able to write about working class history with such feeling that she turned historical facts into page turners. It should come as no surprise then, to those who have read her, that despite a late start, over the next 25 years Gilda O’Neill, was commissioned by numerous publishers to deliver five social histories as well as fifteen novels, some of which made the best seller lists.
The fact that Gilda developed a populist voice was deceptive, given that her writing – both histories and novels – are more than romps but demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of ordinary lives that make reading her such pleasurable entertainment. The grand daughter of a Thames tug skipper and pie and mash shop owner Gilda O’Neill’s experience of life, and her empathy for others, helped her use story-telling, lived experience and memory to draw political parallels in her writing, as well as to support many causes including the UK National Literacy Campaign. In 2002 Gilda received an honorary doctorate from East London University in recognition of her work.
Gilda O’Neill died in 2010 but her memory and her writing lives on. For those readers who wish to know more about Gilda O’Neill, we are pleased to offer details about all her books in one place on this website, as well other information readers might enjoy, about the woman behind books like My East End.
All rights to the copyright work of Gilda O’Neill are reserved to the beneficiaries of her literary estate. Rights requests and permission requests to quote from her work in publications should be directed to her literary agents Curtis Brown Group Limited at firstname.lastname@example.org www.curtisbrown.co.uk