Other Writings


When I started trying to move across from academic to commercial non-fiction writing, the agent I was initially working with liked the idea of my writing about motherhood. There followed many attempts to find a proposal that would suit me and satisfy a commercial market, although I never did find one in the end. But I had fun trying. The following were two test chapters I wrote, although the whole book never materialised.

Yummies and Slummies

Lost Children

Other Articles

I’ve also been writing for a couple of literary journals on the web, with a biographical or memoir slant, although I readily admit that biography I find extremely hard to do.

For Open Letters Monthly, a piece about Marguerite Duras and her important late-in-life love affair with her homosexual muse, Yann-Andrea Steiner.

The Muse of Trouville

And an essay about Anne Morrow Lindbergh:

In The Shadow of a Hero: Anne Morrow Lindbergh

For Cerise Press, a piece about writing the academic book on pornography.

Offending the Reader

An essay about the love life of Simone de Beauvoir:

The Courage to Love Differently

An essay about Gide’s troubled marriage:

Wilful Blindness: The Marriage of Andre and Madeleine Gide


For the wonderful Numero Cinq, an interview with one of the great contemporary writers, Gabriel Josipovici, who deserves far more recognition than he currently receives:

The Mind of the Modern: An Interview with Gabriel Josipovici


I was kindly invited to contribute to the blog Women Doing Literary Things:

And this, unpublished, is my longest sustained piece of biography, an account of Colette’s life that focuses on a particular crisis she went through in late middle age, when she lived out the premise of her most successful novel and had an affair with her teenaged stepson.


8 thoughts on “Other Writings

  1. “But this is the nature of literature; it says things it shouldn’t, in order to rattle the bars and alarm the sacred cows. We should be wary of the stories that only say what we want to hear.”

    Yes, a thousand times yes! It is essential that literature, all the arts, do this. Otherwise the opium really has fed the people.

  2. I’ve just read your article on Duras – absolutely fascinating and so well and engagingly written. I have a vague recollection of some of her works (in translation) in my parents’ house 35 years ago, but I didn’t read any. Your writing encoyurages me to go and seek some of them out now.Thank you!

  3. Just read your article on Gide’s marriage. He also had a daughter with Elizabeth van Rysselberghe in 1923; possibly even more tricky for his wife than his affairs with men……….

  4. I just read your interview with Gabriel Josopovici in Numero Cinq, which may be qualifies as Other Writing. I then promptly discovered a first edition of The Inventory at a bookstore nearby. I look forward to discovering this author, thanks to you.

    • You’re quite right, Mark, I should link to it here. I am so pleased that you are reading Josipovici – he really is an extraordinarily original writer and I’m sure you’ll appreciate him.

  5. Hello! I’ve just discovered your blog via a wild goose chase looking for your essay about Shirley Jackson, “Nothing Like Being Scared“. I would very much like to read it, if that’s possible? None of the old links are turning up, or maybe I’m missing something…? Please do let me know if there’s a way – it sounds fascinating, and right up my alley! Will peruse your other writings in the meantime – thank you so much!

    • Hi Angeliska – I’m so sorry about the wild goose chase! As it turns out, that article proved rather controversial and I had to take it down. So it doesn’t exist anywhere at the moment, unfortunately. However, there’s a new biography of Shirley Jackson coming out, written by Ruth Franklin. The UK publication date is 25th October and I imagine it may be a bit sooner in the States. I think that’s going to be a great resource for Jackson fans!

  6. Thank you so much for your swift response! I look forward to the new biography – thank you for the heads up on that. My curiosity about your piece is even more piqued now, I must say. I totally respect and understand your desire to let sleeping dogs lie – but eeeeshhh now I want to read it even more!

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