Michelle Rawlins

Michelle Rawlins is an international award winning freelance journalist with over 20 years’ experience working in print and digital media. Since 2019, she has taught in the journalism department at the University of Sheffield, working across the BA and MA courses.

After learning her trade, Michelle began her freelance career at 23, writing for national newspapers and women’s magazines, concentrating on real life stories – living by the mantra: ‘It’s always the most ordinary of people who have most extraordinary of stories.’

In 2017, Michelle was awarded the International Media Award by Variety, the Children’s Charity after producing a plethora of publicity to help a little boy with cerebral palsy gain the funds he needed to enable him to have life changing surgery and take his first steps.

In addition, Michelle is an experienced copywriter, producing engaging audience friendly content for corporate clients, charities and PR companies.

She loves nothing more than turning words into print and bringing stories that should be told to life for others to hear.


Image credit: Scott Merrylees


Women of Steel

Michelle Rawlins

True stories of love and loss during WWII from a band of tough Northern women.

When war broke out, the young women of Sheffield had their carefree lives turned upside down. With their sweethearts being sent away to fight, they had no choice but to step into the men’s shoes and became the backbone of the city’s steel industry. Through hard toil and companionship in the gruelling world of factory work, they vowed to keep the foundry fires burning and ensured that soldiers had the weapons, planes and ships needed to secure victory over Hitler.

Women of Steel is the last chance to hear these unsung heroines’ voices, as they share first-hand how a group of plucky young women rallied together to win the war for Britain. When the men returned from the front in 1945, many of these women tragically found themselves discarded ‘like yesterday’s fish and chip wrappers’. But decades later, a grassroots campaign spearheaded by the elderly Women of Steel finally brought their remarkable story to light.

Women of Steel was published by Headline in June 2020.

‘A brilliant book of true stories of love and loss during WWII from the tough northern women who kept the foundry fires burning.’

— Bella Magazine

‘This blend of memoir and history, which comes complete with gorgeous wartime romance stories, celebrates a heroic generation.’

— Best Magazine

‘This profoundly moving blend of social history and personal memoirs includes delightful wartime romances and is a worthy tribute to incredible grit.’

— The Sunday Mirror

‘This inspiring book gives a voice to unsung heroines of the Second World War.’

— Take a Break

The Steel Girls

Michelle Rawlins

When war breaks out, friendship will see them through.

Sheffield, 1939, and the women go to the steelworks to do their bit for the war effort.

Housewife Nancy never dreamed she would go to work in the steelworks factory. But when war is declared, husband Bert is called up to serve and she’s conscripted to go to Vickers to make parts for Spitfires and bomb castings.

For Betty, it’s a world away from her previous job as a legal secretary and her ambitions to study law at night school. And war means being separated from her sweetheart William who’s called up from the Reserves to join the RAF.

Eighteen-year-old Patty is relishing the excitement the war brings. But this shop-girl is going to have to grow up quickly, especially now she’s undertaking such back-breaking and dangerous work in the factory.

The Steel Girls start off as strangers but quickly forge an unbreakable bond of friendship as these feisty factory sisters vow to keep the foundry fires burning during wartime.

The Steel Girls was published by HQ in April 2021.