November 18, 2015, by Sunita Tailor
Interview with Maggie Gee
On 11th November 2015 the School of English was lucky enough to host the novelist Maggie Gee, author of such books as Where Are the Snows (1991), The Ice People (1998), The White Family (2002), and, most recently, Virginia Woolf in Manhattan (2014). As part of her visit, Maggie was interviewed by Dr Nathan Waddell, following an introduction by Professor Josephine Guy. A large number of undergraduate and postgraduate students attended the interview, which addressed topics relating to Maggie’s life and work: her background and family life; her approach to the difficulties of writing; the experience of being studied on a university module; the languages of creative and academic writing; her search for ways to contain the pressures of life in the formal and moral framework of the novel; and the role of writing as a form of dialogue between different communities.
Undergraduates on the School’s final-year module ‘Twentieth-Century Dystopias’ were particularly keen to hear Maggie’s thoughts on The Ice People, a ten-minute segment of which she read aloud. Questions from the floor included queries regarding, among other things, her writing process, her views on editing, and the significance of grand metaphors, unexpected narrative decisions, and male psychology in The Ice People. The day was highly enjoyable for everyone involved, providing an opportunity for students making their ways through the stresses and pleasures of writing to hear from one of Britain’s most interesting and creatively and intellectually nuanced contemporary writers. Maggie was as generous with her views and experience as the accessibility of her fiction leads us to imagine.
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