The star of the books by Evadne Price is eleven years old, leader of a gang, likes nothing better than getting into fights, hates ‘soppy’ kids and loathes ‘soppy’ clothes. Oh, and also has an angelic appearance, golden curls and is, in fact, female of the species.
Yes, in 1928, Jane Turpin was striking a blow for woman’s
lib before the word had been invented.
Although I say she was dubbed “a female William”,Evadne
Price went on record saying she had never heard of him, when the similarities
were pointed out.
The first 3 books ‘Just Jane’, ‘Meet Jane’ and ‘Enter Jane’ were all published by different publishers – Hamilton, Marriot and Newnes, and contained no illustrations. However, with the publication of the fourth book, aptly titled ‘Jane the Fourth’, by yet another publisher, Robert Hale, illustrations by Frank Grey were introduced.
As surely as Thomas Henry captured the spirit of William,
so Frank Grey breathed life into Jane and made her exploits so vivid
in the readers imagination.
The last book, ‘Jane at War’,was published in 1947. There were some reprints, all keeping to the same style and length of the original books, but eventually the books went out of print.
The interest in the Jane books has been kept alive by different generations.
In 1985, twelve of Jane's adventures were printed in a new book called ‘Jane and Co.’published by Macmillan with an introductionby Mary Cadogan,so hopefully Jane will make as big a revival as William, so that a new generation of readers can enjoy the exploits of a very liberated young lady.
She was born Eva Grace Price on 28 August 1888 in Merewether, New South Wales and attended the Junction School in Merewether.
In July 1902 Eva Price obtained a bursary at the Maitland High School and in 1903 she attended the Largs Public School near Maitland. She performed in the end-of-year school concerts at these establishments, giving recitations (as reported in the Maitland Daily Mercury).
On her 21st birthday, 28 August 1909, she married a German-born actor Henry A. Dabelstein in Sydney.
She moved to England and in 1920, Price married for a scond time to Charles A. Fletcher, a soldier. He was a Captain in the 3rd Devonshire Regiment; he died in the Sudan in 1924.
When her stage career ended in 1923 Price turned to journalism.
In 1939 Evadne Fletcher married the Australian writer, Kenneth Andrew Attiwill alias Ken Attiwill (1906-1992) in Kent, England. The couple co-wrote a number of books and plays. They also later wrote scripts for the British television soap-opera Crossroads.
She was the war correspondent for The People from 1943, covering the Allied invasion of Europe and many major war stories, including the Nuremberg Trials. She was the first woman journalist to enter the Belsen concentration camp. Her husband was a prisoner of war in Japan, and was presumed dead for two years.
Romance novel author
Playwright and screenwriter