Who was Mabel Worley?
A life on the margins of polite society is seldom investigated. Mabel’s seven decades spanned the turn of the 20th century and in that time she gave birth to a daughter in a destitute asylum, got married, ran away, joined a circus, navigated love and loss, and rubbed shoulders with star entertainers of her day – only to lapse eventually into criminal existence as a vagrant and public drunk. She lived vitally and quite sensationally, but how and why did her life go so wrong, and what happened to her daughter? Corinne Ball has delved deep into archives to reveal the mystery.
Awarded Keain Medal 2022