Neal Street Productions has optioned Film and TV rights to A WOMAN OF FIRSTS, the autobiography of pioneering teacher, midwife and women’s health campaigner Edna Adan Ismail, published by HQ on 8th August. Neal Street acquired rights from Jonathan Sissons at Peters Fraser & Dunlop (PFD).
Described (on Desert Island Discs) as ‘Tough as General Petraeus, as compassionate as the Pope, as tireless as Michael Phelps, as beautiful as Tina Turner, and with a work ethic to rival Bill Gates’, Edna Adan Ismail has endured imprisonment, mutilation, persecution and civil war in her lifelong pursuit to improve women’s health in Africa. The daughter of Somaliland’s best-loved doctor, Edna saw first-hand how poor healthcare, lack of education and ancient superstitions had devastating effects on her people. And when she suffered the trauma of FGM as a young girl at the bidding of her mother, she experienced it for herself. Edna’s determination was set. From being the first girl from her country to win an educational scholarship in Britain, to becoming the first midwife to practise in Somaliland, and as her country sought independence, Edna rose to become its First Lady and first female cabinet minister. But even as she was courted by presidents and kings, this extraordinary woman never forgot her roots. Having retired from a leading role in the World Health Organisation, Edna built her own hospital, brick by brick and – at 82 years old – she still works there training future generations in what has been hailed as one of the Horn of Africa’s finest university hospitals.
A significant media campaign will be supporting the publication of A WOMAN OF FIRSTS on 8th August, highlighted by the book’s selection for Radio 4 Book of the Week from 5th – 9th August. Edna will also be visiting the UK from 12th – 16th August to promote the book.