At a time when self branding is on the rise from selfies to indulgent self-reflections across social media, the resonance and importance of recounting the lived experience and personal facts in an intimate, lucid and honest manner becomes not only important for our connections to each other but a necessary antidote to the current trends of confessional writing.
To mark the publication of Lara Pawson’s extraordinary new memoir, This is the Place to Be, join us for an intimate evening with Lara Pawson and poet Richard Scott for an exploration and conversation on the themes of memory and confession.
Lara and Richard will be reading from their work and discussing the power of self revealing and confessional writing both for the writer and reader.
Photographs by Julian Richards on the theme of confessional portraits will be on display.
Praise for Lara Pawson’s book, This is the Place to Be
‘What makes a life? Lara Pawson’s lucid, sudden and subtle memoir unpicks the spirals of memory, politics, violence, to trace the boundaries and crossing points of gender and race identity.’ Joanna Walsh
‘A crushingly honest memoir of war, war correspondence and personal mayhem … Her focus is direct, bleakly honest, and as a result full of hope.’ M. John Harris
‘….a stark, compassionate and troubling text that summons a fragmentary autobiography. She deals with big questions through an intimate mosaic of lived experiences – the blank, funny, awful, gentle shards that remain in memory years after events have taken place – returning her again and again to the themes of identity, violence, race, class, sexuality and the everyday lives of people across several continents. The simple form of the book belies a complex structure of association and contrast, point and counterpoint, in which the disconnected events of a life speak to and about each other across time and space, in illuminating ways. Reminiscent on a formal level of Edouard Levé’s Autoportrait and the writing under constraint of Perec and the OuliPo group, Pawson’s poetic recounting of facts also shares something of Kathy Acker and J. G. Ballard, in its attempt to write through both the extraordinary horror and the extraordinary mundanity of trauma.’ – Tim Etchells
Praise for Lara Pawson’s In the Name of the People: Angola’s Forgotten Massacre (IB Tauris, 2014):
Longlisted for the Orwell Prize, shortlisted for the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing and the Political Book Awards Debut Book of the Year, and nominated for the Royal Africa Society Book of the Year.
‘a bomb of a book’ – Claire Armistead, Guardian
‘unflagging intelligence, fearlessness and compassion’ – Teju Cole
‘A brilliant piece of sleuthing . . . I greatly admire this book’ – Paul Theroux
‘engrossing and disturbing’ – Cassie Werber, Wall Street Journal
Find out more about Lara and her work here: https://unstrunglarapawson.wordpress.com/
Praise for Richard Scott’s poetry, Wound
‘Suppose you could travel back, in the obscure regions of memory, to the origin of desire? For Richard Scott, and perhaps for all of us, that beginning point is a wound – an occasion of harm, a lack – that forever after shapes our sense of what it is to want. For the martyred saints on display in the parish church, “devotion is a perpetual hurt.” Scott’s poems chronicle violation – in the van of the unforgettable fishmonger among “the stopped hearts of bivalves pickled in brine/…resting on clouds of ice,” or at the hands of the butcher’s apprentice: “Oh to be your prey!/ Hang me up…” Brave and aching poems, yes, but not merely so; Scott’s resonant language veers between the plain and the rapturous, testifying to the persistence, no matter what, of pleasure.‘ Mark Doty
‘Wound impresses with its colourful cast of lovers, martyrs, predators and porn stars, leading the reader on a journey into the lower lit corners of sexual experience and desire. Scott is a poet with something to say and the considerable skills with which to express it in the most memorable lyric terms. ‘All of us are capable of great change’, reflects one of his striking characters: I was reminded, throughout, of the transformative power of art.‘ Colette Bryce
‘In Wound, Richard Scott conveys the affliction of desire, that entanglement of cruelty and tenderness, with an unwholesome intensity. His carefully shaped poems are both poignant and pungent, articulated with a smarting self-awareness. They read like the kind of official warning you can’t help taking as a recommendation.‘ Gregory Woods
Find out more about Richard and his work here: http://www.richardscott.info/poetry.html