'We tell ourselves stories in order to live' Joan Didion
Writing from memory is both a joy and a source of great frustration.
Like all writers I am drawn to tell a story, in this case, it is my own story. I can’t say why this is the project that intrigues me, this idea of ‘living autobiography’ as Deborah Levy calls it. Why do I want to examine the past, hold it up to the scrutiny of language? What truth (and lies) do these stories reflect? That these memories are unreliable I have no doubt, but how to honour their fallibility while creating art in the most honest way possible?
Every writer has a voice and an individual writing fingerprint. There are themes that I return to often: being African and a woman, being adopted, growing up in apartheid in South Africa, being an immigrant artist and the relationship between Johannesburg, where I was born and Glasgow, my own adopted city.
I trust that there is something unique enough in my own experience to turn into a piece of writing that others would like to read.
‘Her Blue Eye, Mine' - A memoir exploring being adopted and growing up in apartheid South Africa
'States of Emergency' - Collection of pieces set in South Africa, 1985-1990
workshops (details on blog)
The Writer's Kitchen - Writing about food and memory with a local chef
Memories into Memoir - Collaborative writing workshops in the Autumn to encourage writing from memory
2019 Fish Memoir Prize, shortlisted
2015 Scottish Book Trust Next Chapter Award shortlist
2007 Scottish Arts Council New Writer’s Award
2006 Penguin Decibel Fiction Prize shortlist for ‘Meatloaf’
1999 First prize East Dunbartonshire Poetry Competition ‘Travel notes, going North'