MEMOIR AND LIFE WRITING – CLAIRE TOMALIN AND BLAKE MORRISON
Two distinguished memoir writers discuss the challenges and constraints of memoir and life writing with the award-winning biographer Dame Hermione Lee.
Claire Tomalin, born of a French father and English mother, worked in publishing and journalism as literary editor of the New Statesman, then the Sunday Times, while bringing up her children. In 1974 she published The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft, followed by books on Shelley, Katherine Mansfield, Mrs Jordan, Jane Austen, Samuel Pepys, Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens. The Invisible Woman (1990), her study of the actress Nelly Ternan and her relationship with Dickens, was filmed with Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones. Her highly-praised memoir, A Life of My Own, was published in 2017.
Blake Morrison is a poet, playwright and novelist, and was formerly literary editor of the Observer and the Independent on Sunday. His books include two bestselling memoirs, And When Did You Last See Your Father? (made into a film starring Jim Broadbent and Colin Firth) and Things My Mother Never Told Me. He has written two opera libretti, a children’s book, The Yellow House, and a study of the James Bulger murder case, As If. There are three poetry collections Dark Glasses, The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper and Shingle Street, and three novels, including The Last Weekend (2010), dramatised for television. His new novel, The Executor, was published earlier this year.