Preview: Janice Galloway at Book Festival

Galloway returns to tackle two of life's greatest human experiences: having sex and having children


This article is from 2015.

Janice Galloway

Since the release of The Trick is to Keep Breathing in the late 80s, Janice Galloway has made a huge impact on the literary world. That modern classic, now widely read and taught in schools and universities, is considered to be one of the most accurate portrayals of depression in contemporary literature.

Motivated by beauty, Galloway says she is also inspired by ‘how extraordinary everything is the more you think about it.’ Her latest short collection, Jellyfish, alternates between slim tales about sex or sexual chemistry, and longer stories concentrating on ‘the hugeness of rearing children’. She explains: ‘The sexual impulse is a biological drive, sometimes stimulated without our conscious consent or remotely good reasons – it just is. Rearing kids, though, is a lifetime's work. It's serious.’

Since All Made Up came out in 2011, the 59-year-old has spent time travelling in New Zealand and Eastern Europe. Back on home soil, she's looking forward to her appearance at the Book Festival: ‘Do you realise how little I go out?!’

Inspired by children, history, people, Galloway writes about life's experiences – love, separation, depression, death. She creates female protagonists that awaken and empower.

And she doesn't hold back when it comes to the issue of gender equality.

‘Do you listen to the news on the World Service? Check the current US and Northern Irish stance on abortion, the general regard for the horror that is FGM and women's health issues, the horror that is rape in war … the fact that Penguin's utterly wonderful collection of 80 beautiful books in the series Great Ideas has only three women from the whole history of writing on it … ’

A self-confessed introvert, the 59-year-old has no plans to put down her pen. But there have been times that she's considered giving it all up.

‘Discouragement is pressure – even a challenge to stop! A direct response that is positive helps me to keep having another go.’

It's that fighting spirit that we love about Janice Galloway.

Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 20 Aug, 11.45am, £10 (£8).

This article is from 2015.

Janice Galloway

One of the best Scottish authors of her generation, Janice Galloway returns to the Book Festival with Jellyfish, her first book of fiction since 2009. This sparkling collection takes on David Lodge's assertion that ‘literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children; life's the other way round’.


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