Often belittled, when not ignored, in the past, stories of women’s lives written by women have provided many of the past decade’s most powerful novels, memoirs and those books that inhabit the grey area between the two. Three writers who have drawn on their lives to produce poetry and prose that resonate with audiences discuss the challenges of writing memoir: not only how to shape it, but finding the courage to expose their experience. Join Janice Galloway, author of acclaimed ‘true novels’ about growing up in Scotland in the 1960s and 1970s; Catherine Simpson, whose powerful memoir of her sister’s life and death is winning praise; and Jenny Lindsay who turned her teenage diaries and reading of classic feminist literature into a meditation on the #MeToo.
Janice Galloway is a novelist, librettist and memoirist. Her novels include The Trick is to Keep Breathing, Foreign Parts and Clara. Her ‘anti-memoirs’ are This is Not About Me and All Made Up. Her most recent book is Jellyfish, a collection of short stories, which was re-issued earlier this year by Granta.
Catherine Simpson is a writer based in Edinburgh. Her first novel Truestory was inspired by her experiences bringing up her autistic daughter, Nina. Her memoir of sacrifice, grief and reclamation When I Had a Little Sister (4th Estate) was published earlier this year.
Jenny Lindsay is a poet, performer, programmer and founder of Flint and Pitch, a platform where emerging, Scottish spoken word, theatre, live literature and music acts perform alongside established artists. Her latest one-woman show The Script explores sex, gender and feminism.