Three Dorothys Walk into a Bar

Nobody ever remembers women writers - but playwright Jo Kadlecek wants to change that.


How Grand to Be A Toucan

“In Parker’s case, I think creativity was a burden. I genuinely think she didn’t know what to do with it. She had these great outlets – helping start The New Yorker magazine, writing for Vanity Fair and for Vogue, writing poetry, being a theatre critic – but nothing fed her soul. It was a sad existence. She attempted suicide three or four times, and wrote a poem on suicide, and said it at a party with F. Scott Fitzgerald! What a conversation killer – no pun intended.” 

A play that debuted at the 2019 Sydney Fringe Festival brought together three women who led strangely parallel lives, but (probably) never met: Dorothy L. Sayers, Dorothy Parker, and Dorothy Day. These remarkable women all wrote and worked from the 1920s on – but are largely and unjustly forgotten, says Jo Kadlecek, the woman behind the play Speak … Easy

“That’s a line from the play: nobody ever remembers women writers.”

Jo has been a novelist, journalist, and teacher (among other things!) and she’s been trying to get the Dorothys in the same room for the last fifteen years. One of the first women to graduate from Oxford, the first woman to write for the New Yorker, and a firebrand socialist who’s now up for sainthood in the Catholic Church … there is nothing about these women that’s not fascinating. 

In this episode of Life & Faith, Jo talks writing, motherhood, whiskey, falling in love, and being a woman of your time (or not), through the lens of the three Dorothys. 

To find out more about Joining the Dots Theatre – which aims to combine the wit of Dorothy Parker, the theological depth of Dorothy L. Sayers, and Dorothy Day’s passionate compassion for those in need – visit

Find out more about Dorothy L. Sayers from this past Life & Faith Episode: