“My name is Una. Meaning one, one life, one of many. What can I tell you about myself? Well, I once learned to play Mull of Kintyre on the guitar. Other kids teased me but I genuinely thought it was a nice song.”
Becoming/Unbecoming explores what it means to grow up a girl in an atmosphere of shame, misogyny, violence and silence in West Yorkshire between 1975 and 1981. Many women and girls, men and boys, have read my book and it has helped them to think about sexual violence in a different way. Sometimes it has helped them to come to terms with their own past and their own present. Many of you have contacted me. Thank you for all your messages.
Becoming Unbecoming is available in the usual bookstores and comics shops. Published by Myriad Editions in the UK in 2015, B/U has been translated into Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Turkish and a Canada/US edition.
Here’s a link to my blog post in English about my recent trip to Brazil to see Coletivo Rubra, who have adapted the book into a play.
Becoming Unbecoming has been featured on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, Open Book, Oprah.com, Newsweek, Elle Magazine, New York Times, Elle Magazine, Guardian, El Pais. Here’s a link to a recent article in Newsweek about the North American edition
Some nice things that people have said about my book:
A user of this website “Hi Una, I’m sure this is likely not what this box is meant for, but I’m not sure how to send fan mail and I’m a bit tech-dim for a millennial. I just finished “Becoming, Unbecoming”, and it absolutely astounded me, I finished it in one sitting. I am a repeated survivor of sexual violence, and I have never felt so angry, so uplifted, and so validated, and I don’t have the words to thank you for writing this. I feel hopeless and that violence against me is inevitable, but you make me hope that things will keep getting better, and one day I can make art as powerful as yours. Thank you for sharing your story; it means the world to me.”
“In one bravura sequence, she renders 72 police portraits of West Yorkshire women’s attackers from that era in her own hand. In aggregate, they’re unmistakably depictions of Sutcliffe: “just another violent male, staring them in the face.” Douglas Wolk, New York Times
“Touching, moving, and tackling a really serious subject. A wonderful, wonderful book.” Jenni Murray, presenter, BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour
“An absolute sensation: One of my favourite books of the year, and possibly the best graphic novel I’ve ever read.” The F-Word blog
“Male violence against women is a major problem, for all of us. This exploration of blame and shame brings home that fact in an immediate way, but also with great delicacy.” Mary Talbot, 2012 Costa prize winner
“Incredibly powerful and poetic meditation/memoir on growing up under the shadow of the 70s. Ending just left me reeling.” Kieron Gillen, writer, The Wicked and The Divine and Marvel Comics.
“Delicate in construction yet uncompromising in message. Becoming/Unbecoming is an astonishing testament to the power of visual metaphor.” Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier online comics journal
“An incredibly powerful new graphic novel…the illustrations are beautiful.” Anna James, Elle Magazine.
Matt on Goodreads says “This book is so many things–cultural critique, memoir, experimental work of graphic art, and an absolute punch in the gut in every form it takes. Una’s unique blend of true crime reporting, thorough self reflection, hard facts/stats, and her many experiments with art/design and content contextualization make this book an extremely unique and compelling touchstone in the broader conversation about gender dynamics and gendered violence throughout the world.”