Michèle Roberts

Literary Birthday – 20 May – Michèle Roberts


Happy Birthday, Michèle Roberts, born 20 May 1949

Seven Quotes

  1. My theory is that inspiration is born of loss. So that if there’s an empty space inside you, something can come and fill it. Something can get born inside you.
  2. I wrote to invent a culture, a world, I could belong in. Catholicism was a misogynistic religion and I needed to write my way out of it.
  3. I become haunted by it. I dream about it. A novel erupts from a visual image, often a dream image, often an image of a dead body.
  4. Everything begins as ink scribble in the notebook I carry. At some point these handwritten notes for a story or novel transfer onto the computer. Up until then you can pretend you’re not doing it, so that the process is unselfconscious and unanxious. Once I’ve properly begun, I enjoy the process of editing on screen. I print out at night what I’ve written during the day, because I like reading hard copy and can scribble corrections on it more easily.
  5. Poetry, however, I write in longhand on big sheets of paper. I write these out over and over, twenty versions perhaps, the poem growing a bit more each time, until it’s done.
  6. I redraft a great deal. That’s what writing means: rewriting.
  7. Love goes on. The love of friends. Friendship is my oxygen. I’ve said that often and it’s true. Writing goes on too: I keep on building my paper house; my chrysalis

Michèle Roberts is a British writer, novelist and poet. She is the author of 15 highly acclaimed novels, including Ignorance, which was nominated for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and Daughters of the house, which won the W.H. Smith Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and the short story collection, Mud: Stories of Sex and Love.

Source for photograph

by Amanda Patterson

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