In this issue, Jeanette Winterson talks with Jane Davis about her recently published memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, (Jonathan Cape, October 2011) a title which is taken from the question Jeanette’s stepmother asked her when as a teenager she decided to leave home so as to live with the woman she loved. In this searching interview she talks movingly about the book’s main subject matter, her suicidal breakdown and the search for her birth mother that followed on from it. Extracts from the book are interspersed throughout making a dazzling introduction to the book and a valuable insight into this author.
We have fine poetry from Peter Robinson and Julie-Ann Rowell, and Kate Miller is the latest to take us behind the scenes of her poetry in ‘Poet on her Work’.
In fiction, Gabriel Josipovici gives us a Christmas story with a twist, while in ‘Shine’, B. J. Epstein writes a modern Cinderella story. Keeping up the festive spirit Ian McMillan takes us back to his early Christmases. To help parents and our readers with young friends, we recommend seasonal books for children of all ages. Who could resist this face?
We have a diverse assortment of subjects in our essays, with Brigid Lowe Crawford talking about taking time out from work to raise her family and the objections she meets from disapproving (mostly male) former colleagues. Malcolm Bennett writes on ear wax and Alan Wall continues his series on the oddities of language.