On being a writer...

A celebration of the writing process, of being a writer, of all the weird things that pass through a writing brain...

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


Struck down with a post Christmas bug and therefore every excuse not to delve deeper into the French Revolution but to recline with a copy of Lyndall Gordon's life of Emily Dickinson. And what a strange life and even stranger biography. Perhaps it was reading it in somewhat feverish state but the situation Gordon describes is really beyond extraordinary - that Emily should be living in total seclusion apart from her brother conducting an affair literally under her very nose (on the dining room sofa). Very distasteful and odd and strange.

Makes me wonder how much of that was going on in the buttoned up world of the mid eighteenth century. It's certainly true that whatever we novelists can invent, it will never be half as odd as what people actually get up to. I always find biographies strangely inspirational especially those of literary figures because they are a kind of vindication. It's good to feel part of a chain of mad reclusive women - except, in my defence, nothing so odd has never gone on in my house - at least not to my knowledge. Perhaps I'd write better fiction if it did... must give it some thought.


  1. Hi, Katherine, Just to tell you how much I have enjoyed "Confinement". It's the first of your books that I have read, and I've loved it. A question, you're from N W London, so am I. Which school did you go to? There is so much in Confinement that reminds me of my old school, and wondered if it was the same one. Thanks again for a great read.

  2. Dear Julie, I'm so glad you liked Confinement - it's a bit of a personal favourite of mine. I went to North London Collegiate. You too? Let me know - or perhaps it was one very similar...