Sunday, May 06, 2007

the pink list

this weekend, the independent on sunday published its list of the hundred most influential gays in britain. here are the women that made the list:

18. (85) Sandi Toksvig, Broadcaster and Writer

This stalwart on radio shows such as I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Clue and Excess Baggage is one of the most popular voices in middle England. The 49-year-old was dropped from Save the Children when she came out, but protests led the charity to take her back again. Toksvig was recently named Political Humourist of the Year at the Channel 4 Political Awards and Broadcaster of the Year at last month's Broadcasting Press Guild's Awards. Now hosts The News Quiz on Radio 4.

21. (69) Fiona Shaw, Actress and New Booker Judge

Shaw is regarded as one of our finest classical actresses but wins applause for her film forays too. Her theatre awards include three Laurence Olivier Awards for best actress and one New York Critics' Award for her performance in T S Eliot's The Waste Land. Her roles in the Harry Potter films as his cruel aunt have been widely acclaimed. A CBE, she is a judge for the this year's Man Booker Prize.

37. (38) Carol Ann Duffy, Poet and Playwright

The nation's most revered female poet, Duffy was born in Glasgow and lives in Manchester, where she lectures at the university. Her work has won every available poetry award, including the Forward Prize (for Mean Time) and the T S Eliot Prize last year for Rapture, the record of a passionate affair and its sad aftermath. Her collection The World's Wife was a brilliant conflation of feminist polemic, wit and shrewd psychology.

39. (41) Sarah Waters, Novelist

Waters made her name with historical novels Tipping the Velvet, Affinity and Fingersmith, which evoked lesbian lives in the Victorian era. Last year's novel The Night Watch was a best-seller and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. Her third novel Fingersmith was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2002 and the Man Booker Prize, the same year. She is now touring the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand. In January 2003, Waters was named as one of Granta's 20 Best of Young British Writers. She was recipient of the South Bank Award for Literature 2003 and was named Author of the Year at the 2003 British Book Awards.

50. (31) Ashley Steel, Director, KPMG

Steel, 47, is a partner at the accountancy firm and a member of its UK board. She is becoming something of a gay figurehead in the City for her willingness to speak out about on what is still a taboo for many firms. Head of KPMG's infrastructure and government practice and sits on various diversity committees. KPMG recently joined Stonewall's Diversity Champions programme for employers.

52. (NEW) Jackie Kay, Poet and recent MBE

The poet of gender crossover and identity confusion, Glasgow-born Kay, 45, had a Nigerian father and Scottish mother but was adopted by a white Scots couple. He first collection of poems The Adoption Papers explored the theme of the cultural quest, looking for a place to "fit in". Later collections have dealt with black, feminist, lesbian and indeed Scottish issues, always with wit and luxuriant wordplay. Her first novel Trumpet featured a Scottish trumpeter revealed after his death as being a woman. Her collected poems are out this year under the title Darling.

58. (34) Deborah Warner, Theatre Director

Best known for her collaborations with Fiona Shaw, most notably with Electra and Hedda Gabler, Warner, 47, also dabbles in film-making, directing the Michael Gambon film The Last September. Her partner is the author Jeanette Winterson. Warner collaborates with Shaw again in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days at the National Theatre.

59. (NEW) Clare Balding, Sports Presenter

Cambridge-educated Balding, 37, was a leading amateur flat jockey and champion lady rider in the late 1980s and early 90s, but turned her hand to presenting after retiring from jockeying. With three Olympic Games and one Winter Olympics under her belt, she was awarded the Royal Society's Sports Presenter of the Year in 2003. In September 2006, she formalised her civil partnership with the Radio 4 newsreader Alice Arnold.

60. (NEW) Charlotte Mendelson, Writer

Mendelson's stock is riding high with the publication this month of her third novel, When We Were Bad, the story of a London Jewish family in turmoil. Her second, Daughters of Jerusalem, won a Somerset Maugham award and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for an under-35 author. The TLS praised her "glowing, metaphorical and often very funny prose". Straggle-haired, aphoristic and permanently upbeat, Mendelson and her partner Joanna Briscoe - also a talented novelist - are London's top literary lesbian couple.

61. (46) Jeanette Winterson, Novelist

London's most glamorous lesbian fruit 'n' veg seller's first novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit stormed into print demanding attention, and she has caused a whirlwind of attention with everything she's done since. Her first children's book Tanglewreck was published last June, but it's been a while since she gave her fans a work that's worthy of her reputation. Awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to literature, she is experimenting with a part-move to France.

62. (56) Phyllida Lloyd, Theatre Director

One of the UK's most serious theatrical talents had unexpected success as creator and director of the musical Mamma Mia! in London and Broadway. Having been performed in five countries, it is now to be made into a feature film, for which Lloyd, 49, will make her feature directing debut. Lloyd directed Peter Grimes for Opera North which won a South Bank Show award earlier this year.

71. (94) Maggi Hambling, Artist

Artist Maggi Hambling, 61, will have a collection of her drawings from 1963 to present day featured in a new exhibition, called No Straight Lines, at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

74. (NEW) Stevie Spring, Chief Executive, Future Magazine Publishers

Stevie Spring, 49, was appointed new chief executive of Future magazines in summer 2006 and in November unveiled a major restructuring programme. If it is successful, investors can expect a considerable recovery in the group's earnings and share price.

87. (80) Eileen Gallagher, CEO, Shed Productions

Responsible for Footballers' Wives and Bad Girls. Recent commissions won by Shed include a new drama, Rock Rivals, for ITV1, which will see the company join forces with Simon Cowell. Waterloo Road has also been recommissioned for BBC1.

88. (14) Dawn Airey, Television Executive

Left BSkyB to join multimedia group Lostar as chief executive. It lasted just over a week. She is s reported to have discovered the £30m promised war chest amounted to virtually nothing.

90. (93) Miriam Margolyes, Actress

Madame Morrible in the London stage production of Wicked and she starred in last year's television series Jam and Jerusalem. And Harry Potter's back soon too.

91. (90) Saffron Burrows, Actress

As a child she sold copies of Socialist Worker for pocket money and today she is vice president of the National Civil Rights Movement in England. Films out this year are Reign Over Me and Dangerous Parking. One-time partner of Alan Cumming; current partner of Fiona Shaw.

Judge and jury

Each person's ranking is above their name with last year's position in brackets.

Contributors: Hugo Eyre-Varnier, David Benedict, Marcus Field, Damian Barr, Suzi Feay, Andrew Murray-Watson, Beth Dadswell, Mike Higgins, John Walsh, Francis Elliott, Marie Woolf, Katy Guest.

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