In conversation with Alex Clark / 28th May /Masonic Hall at Old Theatre Royal, Bath.
The reviews of my Death of a She Devil have to date been either good or aggressively hostile. Favourable ones from The Times, The Irish Times, The Observer & Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday. Nasty ones in Guardian (twice), Sunday Times and Private Eye.
6th April is the publication date of my new book Death of a She Devil – a sequel to The Life and Loves… Here’s the jacket and the text on it is:
‘The women of the world gave up romance, subservience and submission, and once empowered, took to hard work, truth and reality. Much good has it done them…’
Ruth Patchett, the original She Devil, is now eighty-four and keen to retire. But who can take up her mantle? Enter Tyler Patchett, our new kind of heroine and Ruth’s grandson. He’s an ultra-confident, twenty-three year old man: beautiful, resentful and unemployed. Tyler won’t be satisfied until he can transition into the ultimate symbol of power and status. A woman. In Fay Weldon’s 1983 classic, The Life and Loves of a She Devil, women fought men for power and won. In 2017, men take a decisive step to get their power back…
I was on a panel at this event on 9th March. IPA FESTIVAL OF BRITISH ADVERTISING / Wonder Women: Changing the Portrayal of Gender on Screen. Details
Here is a recording of my recent interview at Leicester University: soundcloud.com/fay-weldon-in-conversation
The fabulous Julian Clary reads my novel Before the War unabridged / CD or download:
‘Face to Face With the Real Me’: a new short story commissioned by BBC Radio 4: Nov 13th 19.45pm.
On 6.30 Saturday 19th November I’m at the Literary Leicester Festival talking to Professor Mary Eagleton of the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association: www2.le.ac.uk/fay-weldon-in-conversation
Oct. 3rd: Newspapers today report me as saying at Henley Festival yesterday: ‘Girls can always get jobs… they can always be cleaners. So they shouldn’t moan.’ I wasn’t recommending it, merely saying it was possible. My mother worked as a cleaner to get me to university. I worked as a cleaner after I’d been to university. It’s no disgrace to be a cleaner, just difficult to find an employer prepared to pay a minimum wage. Men on the other hand, find cleaning jobs the final humiliation and won’t accept them. I wish newspaper persons would accept that a degree of irony comes naturally to me, and distinguish a joke, lightly spoken, from a profoundly anti-feminist statement, which it sounds like taken out of context.
Sunday 2nd October, 11:00 am / Event at the Henley Literary Festival /
The Historical Novel Society event 2nd September: / hnsoxford2016.org/conference/overview /
Sunday 25th September: 10:45am / Event at Kew Literary Festival /
At last someone understands me! A lovely appreciation from India in The Hindu by Uma Mahadevan Dasgupta
At the Ways with Words Festival, Dartington: July 12th, 1.30 pm. www.wayswithwords.co.uk/festivals/
Good review in the TLS of Before the War & Mischief.
Twisted Parables – The Evolving Lot of Put-upon Women in the Fiction of Fay Weldon: an interesting review in the Times Literary Supplement of Before the War and Mischief.
At the Hay Festival on Sunday 5th June, 2.30pm: www.hayfestival.com/fay-weldon-talks-to-rosie-goldsmith
LOVELY review of Before the War in The Australian: www.theaustralian.com.au/fey-weldon-an-old-master-enchants-again-with-before-the-war/
Interview in Daily Mirror: www.mirror.co.uk/mothers-under-phenomenal-pressure-mothers
Talk at the Chipping Norton Festival 6 p.m. Saturday 23 April: www.chiplitfest.com/author/fay-weldon
A revival of my play I Love My Love by Roxaneh Renton and Amy Braidotti of RoAm Productions and directed by Tara Newton-Wordsworth at the Tabard Theatre, 2 Bath Rd, London W4 1LW / 0208 995 6035. www.tabardweb.co.uk/ilovemylove.htm
26 – 30 April 2016 / Tuesday – Saturday 7:30pm / Saturday matinée 4pm.
I Love My Love is a comedy of manners, a smart, fun and fast play I wrote in 1980. What is astonishing, and even rather alarming, is how little has changed: Anne, the country mouse, and Cat, the town mouse, would probably be swapping partners rather than husbands, and the life-swap experiment be set up by Channel 4 and not a trendy magazine, but hearts and lives remain the same! Here’s a short trailer for the production: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp9mJEduMwA&feature=youtu.be
Light relief: interview in ‘The Lady’. My article from the last ever print edition of The Independent: www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/fay-weldon-acclaimed-author-looks-back-over-changing-times-in-the-books-industry
New book: Before the War
10th March is publication date for my new book Before the War. [See column on the right & www.amazon.co.uk/Before-War-Spoils-Fay-Weldon/]. It will be followed at some point by a book called After the War, and the overall title for the two books is The Spoils of War.
Reviews & interviews so far: www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/, www.telegraph.co.uk/fay-weldon-were-stymied-by-the-need-to-be-nice/, The Times Saturday Review, On Libby Purves’ always listenable Midweek BBC Radio4, 16th March & I’m mostly at 35 minutes in: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0738hlr.
The Life and Loves of a She Devil on Radio 4 / 21st & 28th February
Very happy with the BBC’s new radio adaptation of my novel. It’s in two hour-long episodes, starting on Sunday 21 February at 3pm, and continuing on Sunday 28 February at 3pm on Radio 4. Both episodes are repeated at 9pm on the following Saturdays [27 February and 5 March] and will be available on iplayer for a month after transmission. It’s part of a series of dramas on Radio 4 under the title ‘Riot Girls’.
Not sure what the BBC mean by ‘Riot Girls’! But they’ve done a great job, staying true to the book while cleverly adapting the novel to less than half the running time of the 4-part TV version. In the Daily Telegraph Gillian Reynolds calls it ‘ingenious, funny and instructive’. The Guardian says ‘It’s refreshing to hear a new adaptation of Fay Weldon’s The Life and Loves of a She Devil. It’s as wicked and deliciously absurd as when it first came out in 1983, with Ruth sieving the dog hairs out of the soup as she plots her revenge against Mary Fisher, her husband’s carefree and pretty mistress. “I must ignore his way of diminishing me by praising women younger, prettier and more successful and sleeping with them if he can,” she chants, in the litany of the good wife. All in all, Riot Girls shows that the fight for equality isn’t won, but it’s glorious to air the dirty laundry on radio.’
I’m in conversation with Carole Hayman at the University of Northampton on 27th January: The Versatile Writer, or how to make a living from writing in a changing world.
I’m at Wantage Festival 2.30 Sunday Nov. 1st. wantagebetjeman.com/wantage-welcomes-she-devil-writer-fay-weldon/
I’m at a literary festival in Kolding, Denmark, 7.00 on Thursday 27th August. koldingbib.dk/konkurrence-vind-billetter-til-fay-weldon
Julian Clary kindly praises Mischief in:
A Good Read / BBC Radio4 / at 11 minutes. ‘I was completely swept away by it… she trusts the reader’s imagination.’
Daily Telegraph / ‘Best Books for Summer 2015’
‘the book culminates in a brilliant, Swiftian novella… elegant, droll and thought-provoking.’
An article I wrote on nips and tucks for the US magazine More: Read article [They don’t put a current month’s issue online until the next month’s print version is out, around 23rd June in this case: http://www.more.com/ ].
At 3.00 on 6th June I’m talking at the Unitarian Chapel, Newington Green, N16 (Stoke Newington Literary Festival):
On 16th June I’m doing a turn at The Oldie Literary Lunch: 12.00, Simpson’s-in-the-Strand.
STOP PRESS: Alas, I have had to cancel my appearance here because of a medical problem.
Review of Mischief in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Mischief review in The Australian
Article on the 1970s in Sunday Times Style magazine 29/3/15
BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour interview: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/
Observer interview: www.theguardian.com/books/
Herald review: www.heraldscotland.com/books-poetry/reviews
Guardian webchat: www.theguardian.com/books/live/
Interview in Sunday Times News Review: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/newsreview/features/article1518720.ece
Review by Kate Saunders in The Times 31.1.15:
‘This collection of Fay Weldon’s short stories spans four decades, and in the introduction, Weldon describes looking back over her work as a “disturbing experience”. They brought back strong memories of particular times for her, and no wonder: since the 1970s she has been putting her finger on the clash between the real lives of women and how they are bent out of shape by other people’s expectations. Weekend, first published in 1978, is Weldon at her blistering best, blowing a hole in the idea that a working mother can ever achieve a perfect work-life balance. Martha has a job that is no trouble at all; the hard labour is at home, where she is at the mercy of a husband who insists on spending every weekend in a supposedly idyllic cottage. Times have changed, and Fay Weldon is one of the people who changed them.’
On February 12th my publishers Head of Zeus are bringing out an anthology of my short stories: twenty-one of the total of five times that number that I’ve written. Although most have seen the light elsewhere some have not; the book also includes my new hundred-page novella The Ted Dreams in print form for the first time. Here follows what I say in the introduction to this collection:
During the four decades over which these stories were written the relationship between men and women in the West has changed out of all recognition. In the seventies women still endured the domestic tyranny of men, in the eighties we found our self-esteem, in the nineties we lifted our heads and looked about, and in the noughties – well, we went out to work. We had to.
The stories from the seventies, I notice, tend to be long and serious, those from the busy two thousands, shorter. Everyone’s busy. By the 2014 novella, various chickens from these last decades have come home to roost, while social media and big pharma wreak their own special havoc. Some things don’t change, of course. Like mother-love; and children learning to put up with second best. Like mother-love; and children learning to put up with second best. The wife may become the partner, but she goes on making, mending, patching broken lives the same as before.
Reading through my hundred-odd stories was a disturbing experience. Delving into one’s past writing is like delving into memories of one’s own life for an autobiography – there is so much concentrated, even painful experience here. Fiction these stories may be, but the feeling-tones of yesterdays are bound to come surging back. Women’s bodies go on betraying them, desire goes on trumping common sense. The sadistic male artist seems perennial, his poor masochistic moll up to her arms in soapsuds, admiring him.
Most of the tales in this book have been collected before; a few have appeared only in newspapers, magazines or on the radio. A couple are unpublished: the novella had an initial outing as an e-book but is paper published for the first time. Most of them were written as interruptions of whatever novel I was writing at the time (Alopecia, for example, must have been a kind of interjection into the comparative frivolity of Little Sisters). It seems wiser to get new ideas out of my head and onto the page than keep them seething away inside it. These stories often read, I can see, more like concentrated mini novels than classic short stories.
It was only when I wrote my first short stories, unasked for and uncommissioned that I could persuade myself that I was any kind of proper writer. Since I began writing fiction in 1966 I’d found myself writing non-stop in response to requests for television and radio dramas, stage plays, novels, fulfilling contracts and meeting deadlines. But perhaps the fact that I could do that was more to do with my training in advertising than from any genuine talent? Perhaps all I’d been doing was responding to requests in order to pay the rent and keep a family? Not initiating my own ideas like a proper writer? I trusted the incomparable Giles Gordon, my literary agent from 1966 until he died in 2003, to market what I produced. Which he unfailingly did. So I gained confidence.
Then the short began to creep surreptitiously into the long fiction. In Leader of the Band (1988) I added three only obliquely relevant short stories. Fiction crept into ‘non-fiction’: in Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen (1984) I had to warn to readers the ‘I’ in the book was not me, albeit she bore my name. In Mantrapped (2004) I stirred fiction into autobiography to work out whether one can truly separate the writer’s personal life from what she makes up. I decided that you couldn’t.
But I have always had a try-try-try-again approach to writing: nothing ends up quite as you meant it to, which is why one sighs and starts again, in the hope that this time you will get it right. Of course you never will. But this way you get an awful lot of different kinds of books written – to the despair of one marketing executive who shook her finger at me at a meeting and said, ‘You write consistent product, we’ll sell it.’
So many changes have come to pass in the last four decades to disturb the equanimity of the writer. By the nineties most of us were writing with computers – it was so fast, so easy, and the mouse outran the brain. Unconsidered first, not second, thoughts reached the page. Writing by hand went out of fashion. I held out until about 1995. I am not at all sure that the change to the digital text has been a blessing. The computer depends for its very existence on disambiguity; it deals with yes-no certainties. ‘Perhaps’ doesn’t get a look in. Every sentence means what it says and only what it says, and the ease of change for the writer is so swift and unlaborious that any hint of paradox, any sense of the opaque, is removed.
And then the e-book came along, the naked text without the frills of publisher’s advocacy, jacket, blurb, writer’s photo: Look at me! Read this book! The text must now stand alone, without defences. Readers, who once liked to settle down with a good book when they had peace and time to think now increasingly read e-books when they are on the move. It’s no surprise that plot-rich, contemplation-light genre novels leave literary novels lagging behind. ‘Good’ writing is so much to do with an aesthetic, with a resonance of language which is more apparent on paper than on a screen.
The Other Side always seems to hover over my work – alternative realities always threatening to break through, scaring us out of our wits and sometimes into them. In The Ted Dreams it finally steps into ours.
In conversation with Hilary Mantel at The Society of Authors
My new novella The Ted Dreams, a sci-fi ghost story written especially to suit the ebook format, is out now – initially on Kindle alone. I hope you enjoy it. Do you notice a difference in style between this and my normal writing? For further explanation see my blog quoted in 2nd & 3rd links below.
Some music from my birthday party played by my husband Nick Fox & friends:
Dylan’s Change my way of thinking & After Midnight:
Hey Joe & Ramblin’ Man:
Lynda Hayes 1204:
Honey B Mama / Cleo Sylvestre:
Pete Brown / How Long:
Like a Rolling Stone:
Goin’ Down & See Emily Play:
Unusual to be quoted in football news:
The Guardian – an appreciation of The Life and Loves of a She-Devil:
Budleigh Salterton Festival
Fay Weldon Reading (August 9) and Dialogue Workshop (August 10). Part of the Jazz School UK Festival of Songs and Stories at the Shoefactory, Rushden, Northants: www.scribd.com/doc/231615094/Fay-Weldon-Reading-and-Workshop
Curious Arts Festival, Pylewell Park, East End, Lymington, Hants, SO41 5SJ curiousartsfestival.com
Sunday 20th July: at 4.00: Fay Wedon discusses ghosts and the supernatural with Roger Clarke, author of A Natural History of Ghosts [qv amazon.co.uk/Natural-History-Ghosts-Years-Hunting] curiousartsfestival.com/fay-weldon/
ANZ Festival, London
Article on David Bailey and the Queen / US Harper’s Bazaar / published 27/5/14
Fay Weldon & Hilary Mantel in conversation at Bath Spa University:
Daily Mail: commissioned article:
Does life begin at eighty?
The New York Review of Books / March 20th 2014: Triumph of Fay Weldon by Alison Lurie
Fay Weldon: All or nothing – Bookanista
Article on age and publishing in the New York Times:
Fay & Joanna Trollope discuss Jane Austen at Guardian/Folio Society event:
Article in Mail on Sunday EVENT magazine: 22nd December 2013. Read article
Washington Post interview / Christmas 2013
Christian Science Monitor review of The New Countess
Short story in Stylist magazine:
Christmas Calendar by Fay Weldon
Why I Love (and Teach) Author Fay Weldon Professor Gina Barreca’s blog in Huffington Post
‘ From 1984 onward, some colleague or another has asked me, “Fay Weldon? Why on earth do you teach her?” ‘
The New Countess, review in The Times (click image to read)
Fay talks of Doris Lessing
Interview for the Historical Novel Society website:
Historical Novel Society
Kehua! Just published now in US – review in New York Times
Kehua! Review from time of UK publication
Read more more about Kehua!
FAY WELDON: Why I’m still dieting at 82 – it’s the habit of the habit of a lifetime thanks to the size-obsessed fashion industry
Will we ever call it a truce, the fashion industry and I? Having reached the age of 82 I’ve spent a lifetime rebelling against its strictures; its refusal to put clothes on.
Chronicle of Higher Education
Why I Love Fay Weldon
From 1984 onward, some colleague or another has asked me, “Fay Weldon? Why on earth do you teach her?”
Daily Mail article by Fay
Fay on ‘Madeley on Sunday’ Radio 2, on iplayer for next seven days:
THE OLDIE – JUNE 2013 – part 1 – first part of the article
THE OLDIE – JUNE 2013 – part 2 – the rest of the article
THE WEEK – Fay Weldon’s 6 favorite books
Source: The Week
Click image to download.
“My glimpses of the afterlife mean that I no longer fear death”
Daily Mail article by Fay Weldon
Flamboyant author and award-winning journalist Caitlin Moran discusses feminism, sex, and fame with best-selling novelist and playwright Fay Weldon:
Sky Arts HD
New ebook publisher
Fay’s new ebook publisher: Open Road author page
Fay featured on the Open Road video page
Open Road interview: Meet Fay Weldon:
Times Higher Education article: Fay Weldon speaks up for creative writing
Daily Beast article: Fay Weldon writes about her mother
Visits to Norway and Denmark:
Danish TV interview (interview in English – starts at about 50 secs)