awp and jeanette winterson

March 14, 2013

Jeanette Winterston (JW) looks like a cross between a hobbit and a bass player in an early 70’s British rock band. It is both odd and hot. I saw her take the stairs to the big stage at AWP and she was wearing black Levis 510’s. If only she would have worn  a white shirt with puffy sleeves or one with a little tuxedo frill down the front, she would have nailed the look completely.

JW is an eloquent and wicked smart speaker. She says brilliant things, like how when men write about themselves it’s called meta-fiction, but when women do the same thing it’s called autobiography. And she says things that make the crowd laugh, like how as a kid when she found a sex manual, she looked at the drawings of positions and “pondered the horrors of heterosexuality.” And she says everything in a perfect British accent, using words only Brits say, like cheeky, and rubbish, and “it’s a good jobs I’m small.” And you might have guessed all this if you’ve already read any of her books. What you would not know without seeing her, though, is how charismatic and confident  JW is. She stood alone on a stage in an auditorium of more than 500 people and held everyone’s attention with her humor and wit and sincerity. See for yourself at this is a similar talk at Sydney Writer’s Festival.

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