Damian Barr talks about memoir Maggie and Me at 2013 Edinburgh Book Festival
Growing up gay in Conservative Scotland
This article is from 2013.
Damian Barr always knew his memoir, Maggie and Me, with its more generous assessment of the late Margaret Thatcher who he says inspired him to get out and make something of himself, would provoke anger, especially in Scotland. But it’s the tough childhood he had, bullied by his mother’s boyfriends for being gay and physically assaulted in his own home, that was the most daunting part of the book. ‘I’d come out of my shed in the garden where I was writing and literally be sick, it was like being traumatised all over again. But you have to go back there for your readers. So a lot of the time I had my eyes actually closed while typing.’ Honesty was the most important thing, he says. ‘Your adult self is constantly intruding, making comments, and you have to leave all that out. As an abused child, I’ve done what you’re not supposed to do, by talking about it. I do feel like an adult for the first time in writing this book, because I’m not that child any more.’
Edinburgh International Book Festival, Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 3735888, 17 Aug, 7pm, £10 (£8)