A beautifully written novel by Kit de Waal My Name is Leon tells of nine-year-old Leon’s struggle to come to terms with the circumstances of his life. It’s set in Birmingham where the violence of the 1981 Handsworth riots contrast with the street party planning fervour for Charles and Diana’s wedding. At the beginning of the book … Continue reading My Name is Leon
There’s something that troubles me about the film Lion (Garth Davis) which tracks the journey of a five-year-old boy, Saroo (Sunny Pawar), from a village in Madhyar Pradesh to Tasmania and back. Saroo is adopted by an Australian couple, John and Sue Brierley. Sue (Nicole Kidman) reveals to the adult Saroo (Dev Patel) that, at … Continue reading Lion: a troubling account of transracial adoption
I’ve just finished my memoir Chasing Ghosts describing my adoption and search for my birth family, so it was with pleasure I picked up Jane Robinson’s In the Family Way. Subtitled Illegitimacy Between the Great War and the Swinging Sixties, it’s a history of society’s attitude to illegitimacy, its aim being to break the silence … Continue reading In the Family Way
A relative, on reading my memoir, pointed out some errors relating to my memory of my brother’s funeral. I replied that a memoir consists of the writer’s memories, so I wasn’t worried about her recalling the event somewhat differently. Who is to say who is right? Memory is a very personal thing and most memoir … Continue reading Memoir: Truth or Fiction?
The Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer. What a great name for a play about cancer. We pacifists do not fight or battle with cancer. Rather it fights with us. Our consultants cut us up and pour poisonous chemicals into us in the hope that it will go away. We do not die heroes … Continue reading War and Peace
‘Shut your mouth and open your ears’ is one tip I found when looking for advice on how to work with an editor. Another advisor entreated me to view my editor as an ally. True but tricky. I’m used to working with colleagues on government policy documents so I’ve never felt ownership of those. But … Continue reading Working with my editor