Donna McLean - Small Town Girl | 16th February @7pm

Join us to celebrate the launch of Small Town Girl by Donna McLean. 

"You live with someone for two years and then... they simply don 't exist."

Donna McLean was 30 when she met Carlo and her life changed overnight. She fell in love almost immediately. They moved in a few weeks later. They were engaged within months. But two years later, in 2004, the relationship fell suddenly and dramatically apart. Carlo said he was going through an emotional breakdown. And then he disappeared. It took over ten years for Donna to find out what really happened - and who her fiancee really was.

Carlo was an undercover police officer. He targeted Donna and started a relationship with her so he could get close to her activist friends. Carlo had been leading a double life the whole time he was with Donna - with his own wife and son living a short distance away. The great love story of Donna’s life wasn’t just built on lies. It was one huge lie.

Donna McLean is a survivor of the Spycops scandal. Over four decades, British undercover police deliberately and systematically started relationships with women in order to infiltrate protest groups. They lived with these women, some had children with them, and when the job was done they simply left. We have heard very little from the women at the heart of this extraordinary scandal. Most felt forced to accept anonymity. Donna decided to drop her pseudonym last year so she could tell her story in her own words and under her own name. Small Town Girl is that story. 

This book is a memoir of the Spycops scandal but it’ s also the story of a truly brave, determined and inspirational woman. Learning the truth very nearly destroyed Donna. Now, with Small Town Girl, she has reclaimed her voice, so she can reveal the truth on behalf of herself and all the women at the centre of the Spycops scandal.

Donna McLean is a working class writer, activist and mental health practitioner. She wrote every day growing up in Scotland, but stopped when working in homelessness, mental health and drug treatment services in London. She has written for several publications including the Guardian, The Morning Star, The Independent and the Telegraph. Donna has also published several pieces of short fiction, including the 2020 anthology The Middle of a Sentence. Small Town Girl is her first book.

She will be joined in conversation by Conrad Landin. Conrad is a Mount Florida-based journalist and co-editor of New Internationalist. He spent several years reporting on the spycops scandal and attending hearings of the undercover policing inquiry, for the Morning Star, the i newspaper and the London Review of Books. During this time, he worked with activists to expose how undercover officers infiltrated trade unions and supplied information to the illegal corporate blacklist of construction workers. His news reports, features and book reviews have also appeared in Tribune, The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement.

Tickets are free but you can really help out the shop by pre-ordering the book in advance