Writers largely work on their own – we think of them as experts in self-isolation. Yet during the coronavirus pandemic, while isolation was the default condition, many found writing very difficult, if not impossible. Why? And why did others find fuel in the situation? And what, if anything, can be learned from these circumstances?
RSL Chair Lisa Appignanesi leads a panel of writers and analysts to probe the writing life under isolation and how experiences of emergency, anxiety and lockdown play into creative potential.
Lisa Appignanesi is a prize-winning writer, novelist and cultural commentator, and Chair of the RSL. Her non-fiction includes Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present, an in-depth study of the female mind over the past two centuries, and 2019’s Everyday Madness: On Grief, Anger, Loss and Love. She is a Visiting Professor in Literature and Medical Humanities at King’s College London and was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in recognition of her contribution to literature.
Josh Cohen is a psychoanalyst in private practice, and Professor of Modern Literary Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles on modern literature, psychoanalysis, and cultural theory, including his latest Not Working: Why We Have to Stop, which explores the impact of working culture.
Louise Doughty is the author of eight novels. Her most recent, Platform Seven, was published in 2019. Her 2013 novel, Apple Tree Yard, was a number one bestseller and made into a BBC One television series starring Emily Watson. In 2017, she set up the UEA Crowdfunded Writers’ Scholarship for students from a BAME background to attend the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, a course she attended herself in the 1980s, when she studied with Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter.
Otegha Uwagba is the author of the Little Black Book: A Toolkit For Working Women published in 2017. Her highly anticipated part-memoir, part-cultural commentary, We Need To Talk About Money is scheduled for publication in May 2021. She is also a speaker, brand consultant and founder of Women Who, a London-based multi-media platform aimed at creative women.
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