Cover of “Queen of Codes: The Secret Life of Emily Anderson, Britain’s Greatest Female Code Breaker”

Galway woman Emily Anderson may have appeared to the world as the epitome of ordinary,
yet was in truth anything but. Born in 1891 as the daughter of the President of Queen’s
College Galway, during World War I she was recruited to British intelligence to work as a
codebreaker. So exceptional were her skills that she was one of the few women retained to
work in intelligence during the interwar period, and subsequently served as a codebreaker at
Bletchley Park and later Cairo, winning an OBE in the process. Though widely
acknowledged as an exceptional musicologist – her translations of the Letters of Mozart and
the Letters of Beethoven are classics to this day – her professional life as Britain’s greatest
female codebreaker remained secret until the recent publication of her biography by Jackie
Uí Chionna. In this lecture Dr. Uí Chionna will recall the remarkable life of the woman who
earned herself the title “Queen of Codes”.

Dr. Jackie Uí Chionna teaches History at the University of Galway. Her biography of Emily
Anderson, Queen of Codes: The Secret Life of Emily Anderson, Britain’s Greatest Female
Codebreaker, was published by Headline UK in 2023. Her previous books include He Was
Galway: Máirtín Mór McDonogh (Four Courts Press 2016) and An Oral History of University
College Galway, 1930-1980: A University in Living Memory (Four Courts Press 2019). She
is editor of the Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, and is currently
an Associate Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Study,
University of London.

Date: Monday 11 March 2024
Time: 20:00/8pm
Venue: Harbour Hotel, Galway