Twenty – Nine Thousand Nights: A Communist Life

Nan Berger


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  • Nan Berger
  • Ruth Ewan
  • Vickie Berger
  • 2017
  • ISBN 9781906012861
  • 192 pages
  • Softcover
  • 17.8 × 24.5 cm

Commissioned for Beyond Words, Ruth Ewan has unearthed an unpublished manuscript of Nan Berger (1914–1998) – international activist, writer and editor, and lifelong member of the Communist Party. Now a forgotten figure she gained brief public recognition for her work in the Ministry of Transport, resolving the coal crisis in the winter of 1947–48 for which she was awarded an OBE.

Her autobiography is unfinished, consisting of contemporary notes alongside more detailed accounts of parts of her life: the anti-fascist struggles of the 1930s, pre-war USA, post-war life in Poland, China and her activities with the National Council of Civil Liberties and the anti-apartheid struggle. The gaps are filled by Ruth Ewan with archival material that ranges from MI5 surveillance files, family photographs, archived journals and publications, that presents evidence of an extraordinary life of radical politics and compassion for others.

Ruth Ewan is an artist based in Glasgow, and is known for creating context specific artworks. She works with found material, history, collaborators and participants to realise her projects, which are often grounded in focused research into hidden social and political histories.