Bodies of Work: Alice Hattrick and Melissa Febos

  • DATE

    26 April 2022

  • TIME

    7:00 pm to 8:00 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome

When a piece of writing hits us in the gut, it feels personal, yet ‘personal’ is not a word we use about all writing. Where does that evasive boundary lie, between personal and public, and what powers are laid bare there?

We’re hugely delighted to host a conversation about intimate experiences transformed into text, and the interaction of feminism, queer identity, power and vulnerability when certain personal narratives are made public. To share their words and experiences of tapping into the deeply personal, with intention and urgent enquiry, are two of the most exciting voices in creative non-fiction today.

Alice Hattrick’s debut Ill Feelings blends memoir, medical history, biography and literary non-fiction to explore the stories of the author’s and their mother’s shared diagnosis and illness. Inviting a constellation of voices, including Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson and Louise Bourgeois onto its pages, it’s a book that lifts the lid on unexplained illness as a full, complicated, endlessly varied experience.

Melissa Febos’ Body Work is an immensely generous and wise guide to the writing life, but also an enquiry into the politics of personal narrative and how it is received. What does it mean when a piece of writing is dismissed as ‘navel gazing’? How do we write about our most intimate experiences, and to whom are we responsible as narrators of these stories? Melissa’s writing is as empowering as it’s thought-provoking.

This event is hosted by Jessica Gaitán Johannesson, Edinburgh based author of the novel How We Are Translated and the forthcoming collection of personal essays The Nerves and Their Endings: Essays on Crisis and Response.