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Let Me Take You by the Hand


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About the Author

Jennifer Kavanagh worked in publishing for nearly thirty years, the last fourteen as an independent literary agent. Books she represented included world rights for Chinese Lives, an oral history of China just before the Tiananmen Square atrocity, and the British rights for classic American oral historian Studs Terkel. Since leaving publishing, she has started and run a community centre in one of the poorest wards in London's East End, started a mobile library for homeless people, volunteered at an asylum seeker centre in central London, and set up a microcredit programme for women in poverty in London, as well as in Africa. She has also been a prison visitor at Pentonville and Dorchester, and for six years was a research associate for the Prison Reform Trust, working with inmates and staff in many prisons round the country. In one of her previous books, Journey Home, she interviewed a number of homeless people, refugees and women in a refuge. She lives in central London, and talks to people on the streets on a daily basis. Jennifer is a Churchill Fellow and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She has published nine books of non-fiction and two novels.


During my long years as a hostage I had no books and no contact whatsoever with the outside world. Using my imagination I walked along the streets of London and had many imaginary conversations with the people I met there. If only I had had this book with me then. Jennifer Kavanagh has actually walked the length and breadth of this great city and recorded the many conversations she had with people. Apart from being a fascinating snapshot of London in the 21st century, it's a valuable social commentary -- Terry Waite
What shines through this wonderfully engaging book is the author's genuine assumption that every life matters and, if we care to listen, has important things to tell us about our own. -- Kathryn Hughes * Guardian *
The openness of the people she spoke to, and the empathy and skill she devised in winning their trust, are remarkable features of this humane and attractive book -- Jerry White * Times Literary Supplement *

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