It is my absolute pleasure to welcome Julia Blackburn to the virtual armchair today, talking about her PEN / Ackerley prize winning memoir, The Three of Us.
I first heard Julia speak at Ways With Words some years ago when she talked at one of the most emotional and memorable events I have ever attended, speaking about With Billie, her biography of Billie Holiday. Julia read from her book over a recording of Billie singing and reduced us to tears of genuine compassion in the Great Hall that afternoon. I wrote about The Three of Us last year and was then fortunate enough to spend a week with Julia and Herman and Penelope Lively at the Ways With Words Memoir Writing Course in France last autumn. Much to our amusement, Julia and I kept getting out the the same Red Lamy Safari pens and wearing the same Crocs.
To mark the publication of the paperback edition of The Three of Us Julia has kindly answered our usual questions from her home in Italy and my thanks to her for taking the time to tell us more about the book.
Julia, after I'd read The Three of Us I wrote 'Writing as an adult and using her copious diaries as reference Julia has captured and bottled that childlike understanding of her situation, it must have been tempting to invest it with the wisdom and hindsight of an adult but she doesn't.'
Can you tell us why you decided to write this book now and how difficult was it to recapture your child self? Was this an exhausting revisit or an exhilarating release, a form of therapy? Anything you can tell us about the process at all would be of great interest
We're very inquisitive here at dovegreyreader so we love to know about your writing day, it really helps us imagine the writer at work so special space, perfect view, cupboards cleared out before you can settle down, fountain pen or PC, we've had woolly socks and writing jumpers can you tell us?
If you could just imagine for a minute that none of us read books, who must we read and why?