24. Writing Memoirs (part 1) Farah Bashir & Auriel Roe
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24. Writing Memoirs (part 1) Farah Bashir & Auriel Roe

Writing Memoirs (part 1): Farah Bashir & Auriel Roe talk to We'd Like A Word presenters Paul Waters and Stevyn Colgan about what makes a good memoir. Farah Bashir's new book, Rumours of Spring, is about her girlhood growing up in Kashmir during an insurgency and severe security crackdown. Her family home was repeatedly searched by the army, a relative shot dead, a schoolfriend attacked with acid and her family life, education and local traditions radically disrupted. Farah writes about how the conflict and living in fear had particular impacts on women and girls - altering their posture, menstruation, visibility and core sense of self. But her book is not an unbroken litany of misery - far from it. It's a fascinating and illuminating insight into a warm family life and a rich imagination. The details and small behaviours she describes bring Srinagar vividly to life. Farah explains why she wrote Rumours of Spring; how she had to wait until she was ready; the challenges in revealing very personal aspects of her own and her family's lives; and how to make her individual story gripping for people who've never met her - her readers. Farah is from Kashmir and these days lives in Delhi. Rumours of Spring is published by Harper Collins India.

And we also hear from Auriel Roe, who joins us from Spain, where she runs The Memoirist website and international memoir publisher Dogberry Books. She loves publishing other people's memoirs and is deluged with submissions. However, too many of them are boring or unremittingly miserable. Auriel is on a quest for relatable personal stories with at least of tinge of humour. Which does not mean that they cannot be serious, but does hope for some self-awareness.

We also talk about David Attenborough, Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine (Last Chance to See), Berthold Brecht, Black Lives Matter, Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking), Hisham Matar (The Return), Suad Amiry (Sharon and My Mother-in-Law), Stephen Fry, Thomas Bewick, Oliver Postgate (Seeing Things), Bagpuss, The Clangers, Nogging the Nog, Christine Adams and Michael McMahon (Miss Savidge Moves Her House), George Orwell, Joseph O'Neill (Blood-Dark Track: A Family History), Grace Jones (I'll Never Write My Memoirs), Primo Levi and Basharat Peer (Curfewed Night).

We'd Like A Word is a podcast & radio show from authors Paul Waters & Stevyn Colgan. We talk with writers, readers, editors, agents, celebrities, talkers, poets, publishers, booksellers, audiobook creators about books - fiction & non-fiction. We go out on various radio & podcast platforms. Our website is www.wedlikeaword.com -  which is where you'll find information about Paul & Steve & our guests.  We're also on Twitter @wedlikeaword & Facebook @wedlikeaword & our email is [email protected] - & yes, we are slightly embarrassed by the missing apostrophes. We like to hear from you - your questions, thoughts, ideas, guest or book suggestions. Perhaps you'd like to come on We'd Like A Word in person, to chat, review, meet writers or read out passages from books. And if you're still stuck for something to read, may we recommend Blackwatertown by Paul Waters or The Diabolical Club by Stevyn Colgan.

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