Ian Thomson’s mother and her best friend both left Soviet Estonia as children in the 1940s. One found refuge in England, the other was deported to a Russian prison camp. At the very end of the Soviet era, the writer travelled to Tallinn to seek out his mother’s childhood friend.
A 'little hell' was how Patricia Highsmith described her Texan childhood. Seeking inspiration for her novel about the troubled writer, Jill Dawson travels to Fort Worth — and finds answers that go beyond the bounds of writing.
Hollywood’s recipe of the hero’s journey is concentrate of Joseph Campbell diluted via the commercial wisdom of ‘story consultants’. But what if we put a heroine in the frame? Does the schema of desire, jeopardy, prize-wresting, and finally, homecoming still hold? Nicola Baldwin thinks the journey is even more important for women, who invariably forfeit something along the way.
We write to remember, and to forget, using memoir to fix the past and prevent amnesia leaking memory away. Terry Pratchett said that amnesia steels us from ourselves. But Rahila Gupta found that if you stage memoir the door to the past keeps opening. Each performance of her deeply personal play confronted her with new pain until she came to a new understanding of love and grief.