Mixed Blessings from a Cambridge Union
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Mixed Blessings from a Cambridge Union

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It’s 1947 and a clever, sheltered Catholic girl of Liverpool Irish working-class heritage is studying Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge. She is the first one in her family to go to university and then she discovers that she’s pregnant. The father is also a student at Cambridge, studying law. And he is black.

Despite pressure to give up her baby for adoption, the young mother has big dreams for her child’s future. Her daughter Elizabeth overcomes a background of shame, stigma, and discrimination, to become one of the UK’s greatest ever nurses, and the first ever sickle cell nurse specialist. Recently named a BBC 100 Women of the Year 2020 and awarded a Damehood, Dame Elizabeth Anionwu has continued her work throughout her retirement, and recently brought to the nation’s attention how Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on Black and Asian communities.

Mixed Blessings from A Cambridge Union - now republished as Dreams From My Mother - is an inspiring story about childhood, race, identity, family, friendship, hope and what makes us who we are. Ultimately, it is an incredibly moving story of a mother and a daughter separated by society, but united in the dreams they shared for her future.