“Pioneering” and “indomitable” author and journalist Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE has been appointed the first ambassador for the Women in Journalism group.
Taylor Bradford (pictured, centre) will use the role to raise the profile of the organisation in both the UK and US, where she now lives.
Women in Journalism was founded by former Sunday Mirror and Sunday Express editor Eve Pollard 25 years ago and provides networking opportunities, mentoring and sponsorship. It currently has 650 members.
Taylor Bradford, who began her career aged 16 as a reporter and then women’s editor on the Yorkshire Evening Post, was surprised with the honour at a dinner at the Corinthia Hotel in London last night attended by 28 of the UK’s top female editors and writers.
She said: “I’m a journalist down to the very bottom of my toes and like nothing better than being in a room with my peers so being honoured by Women in Journalism is actually really my honour,” she said.
Taylor Bradford moved to London aged 18 and was appointed women’s editor at Women’s Own before she became one of Fleet Street’s first female reporters at the London Evening News.
She went to the US after marrying a Hollywood producer and began writing a syndicated interior design and lifestyle column, Designing Woman, that appeared three times a week in 183 newspapers for 12 years.
The 86-year-old, who has now written 34 novels, said: “I started off in the reporters’ room at the Yorkshire Evening Post in 1948 and I was the only girl working in it.
“Luckily, I was able to be the journalist that I’d always dreamed of becoming as I had the support of the editor Barry Horniblow, journalist Keith Waterhouse, my sharp-witted mentor, along with other writers like Willis Hall.
“A few years later, I made it to Fleet Street but I remember I was still the only woman working in the newsroom at the time and it would have been amazing to have an organisation like Women in Journalism to support me as a female writer who wanted to go places.”
Taylor Bradford was given the Order of the British Empire in 2007 for her services to literature.
Eleanor Mills (pictured, right), Sunday Times editorial director and Women in Journalism chairman, said she was “truly honoured” to have “warrior woman” Taylor Bradford on board as ambassador.
Pollard (pictured, left) praised her “indomitable spirit and her devotion to work”.
Picture: Vicki Couchman