I was privileged to have been asked to chair The Rewriting Violence panel last night in Waterstones, Sauchiehall Street. Featuring Madeleine Black, Louise Beech and Michael J Malone, the event was a discussion around using the written word to shape and raise awareness of violence and trauma for individuals. I only hoped that I could do justice to such a worthy and important subject.
Michael was talking about his novel, A Suitable Lie which focuses on domestic abuse where the abuser is the wife; Madeleine, her memoir, Unbroken, an honest and raw account of being raped at the age of 13 and Louise talked about Maria in the Moon, an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide.
Glasgow weather had not been kind to us this week so we were delighted at the turnout at the event and what a fabulous audience, insightful questions and comments meant that the evening passed in a flash! I really do think we could have had an all-nighter in Waterstones carrying on the discussion.
Each of the authors gave their all in this event covering subjects that are not easy to talk about but subjects we must talk about, issues that we must challenge on a daily basis to challenge the stigma and attitudes towards rape, domestic violence, violence against men and women and childhood trauma.
We talked about writing and indeed the reading of books as a therapeutic process; the reaction from readers, family and friends to the books and how by writing fiction or memoirs can make it easier for others to take that first step forward to their own journey of recovery and healing. We also talked about the importance and power of social media in raising awareness both through the author’s promotion of organisations offering support and also campaigns such as #MeToo, all of which highlight the need for support for all affected but also ensuring that campaigns don’t become “flash in the pan” but actually work to empower and enable people to step forward.
It was an emotional night but one not without its humour; ask Louise Beech to pronounce Sauchiehall Street, she was convinced we were trying to get her to say rude words…as if we would! The audience also found out that one of Michael’s proudest moments was Highland Dancing on the back of a float in Irvine; Madeleine can deadlift twice her bodyweight and Louise’s middle name is Puffbrains…
If you have never seen Michael, Louise or Madeleine at an event, I would urge you to do so. Each of them is a powerful narrator and they are strong advocates for the power of the written word in so many aspects of our lives.
Finally, I’d like to give a huge thank you to Frankie, events coordinator at Waterstones, she is an absolute star and her organisational skills, welcoming and helpful approach put everyone at ease and ensured the night went without a hitch! A fabulous venue for events, be sure to check it out!
Pictures courtesy of Mary Picken over at Live and Deadly Book Blog.