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.
Nearly always dubbed a ‘female William’ she was the archetypical tomboy, and Evadne Price supplied her with enough peppery old maids, snobs and prudes to annoy, to keep us readers amused through ten books.

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.
However, 2 of the titles are the same ‘Just Jane’ (Just William) and ‘Jane the Fourth’ William the Fourth) and Newnes published the first edition of Enter Jane in the same format as the (pre-war) William books. Also, the flyleaf of the Jane dust wrapper carries adverts for the William books!
Despite this the Jane books stand on their own merit and are collected in their own right.

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.
Robert Hale then went on to publish another six books and also republished the first three with Frank Grey’s illustrations, making a total of ten books.

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.

Writing career.

As a journalist, Evadne wrote a column for the Sunday Chronicle and contributed to other newspapers. She also began contributing short stories to the fiction magazines of the period. The Jane Turpin stories were published in the Novel magazine from 1928, and then in books.

Romance novel author
Under her own name, Evadne Price was a successful romance novelist. She wrote over 150 paperback novelettes for cheaply produced series such as The Lucky Star Library, The Glamour Library and The Silver Star Library, as well as longer romance novels that were published in hardback. She was a vice-president of the Romantic Novelists' Association.

Playwright and screenwriter
Price's career as a romance novelist took her into playwriting, radio scriptwriting and screenwriting. Her play Big Ben, written for the Malvern Festival in 1939, was a successful one. The Phantom Light (1937) was a stage version of her novel, The Haunted Light. The play was also made into a film starring Gordon Harker called Once a Crook (1939) - a play which was co-written by Price and her husband Ken Attiwill, was filmed in 1941. She also acted in the movie Trouble with Junia (1967) in the minor part of Miss Hallyday, beside her husband Ken Attiwill. In 1965, she and Ken Attiwill joined the scriptwriting team of the ATV soap opera Crossroads.

Evadne Price had a parallel career as a broadcaster during the early years of British television. Her afternoon horoscope show called "Fun with the Stars" led to regular appearances on the lunchtime chat and music show Lunchbox, with Noele Gordon. Price was dubbed the "new astrologer extraordinaire" for twenty-five years for the SHE magazine and published a successful collection of these columns as SHE Stargazes. When she and her husband retired to their native Australia in 1976, Evadne Price wrote the monthly horoscope column for Australian Vogue. She also appeared weekly on the ITV Central evening news magazine show with a 5-minute astrological reading, and she would always close with the catchphrase "think lucky and you'll be lucky".

Evadne Price died on 17 April 1985 in Sydney, Australia, aged 96.