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Chat to author and journalist LIONEL SHRIVER during our webchat on Thursday 19 April at 9pm

(91 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 17-Apr-18 15:48:48

Book club special: We’re really thrilled to announce that Lionel Shriver will be joining us on this thread for a webchat on Thursday 19 April between 9 and 10pm to answer your questions and tell us about her newly published collection of short stories Property: A Collection.

A widely published journalist, Lionel Shriver is the author of twelve novels, including her controversial book about motherhood, We Need to Talk About Kevin which was the Orange Prize winner (2005) and adapted into a film starring Tilda Swinton. Her last novel, The Mandibles was Mumsnet book of the month last year. Set in the US in 2029 and is a fascinating, believable and entertaining glimpse into the decline of the world’s most powerful nation.

Property is Lionel's first ever collection of short stories and explores the idea of "property" in both senses of the word: real estate, and stuff. Join us to find out more on Thursday at 9pm or post a question for Lionel in advance on this thread.

Everyone who joins the discussion will be entered into a draw to win one of three copies and winners will be announced at the end of the webchat.

HelenaDove Tue 17-Apr-18 20:56:09

As a woman who has lost ten stone (140 pounds) and kept it off for over a decade..............i just couldnt bring myself to read Big Brother as im sure it would have reminded me of the stigma and abuse that i encountered daily when i was obese.

its good that the subject has been covered in a novel though.

But unfortunately the stigma and abuse doesnt always stop once the weight is lost..........people who have been left with loose skin as a result are being left to live with the end result and being told both by medical professionals and members of the public here in the UK "tough shit you have brought it on yourself" I was one of the lucky ones...........i lost my weight while still young (29/30) so havent got loads of loose skin .........just a little bit.

But many arent so lucky and just end up exchanging one prison for another one with many who would like them to stay locked up.

Cismyfatarse Tue 17-Apr-18 22:16:39

What are the ingredients of a good short story? As a teacher, I try very hard to teach pupils how to tell a good tale. There are obvious things (plot, character etc) but if you were teaching a group of teenagers what would be your advice to them beyond reading as much as possible?

Thanks

Hygge Wed 18-Apr-18 19:26:07

I love We Need To Talk About Kevin and often find that people are critical of Eva, which I think is unfair and I loved her as a character.

I'm wondering though what you intended with Franklin?

I disliked him intensely through the entire book and I'd love to know what you think of him and what you hoped others would make of the character.

Kattymanners Thu 19-Apr-18 10:25:48

I first heard ‘wnttak’ dramatised on woman’s hour R4 and read the book myself soon after. I haven’t and don’t want to see the film though - I feel it probably would be too harrowing !

Most of the subjects you choose to write about are incredibly harrowing though... how do you cope emotionally immersing yourself into a writing such a novel such as big brother (which obviously is a subject close to your heart ) Are you able to distance yourself somehow or is it a kind of therapy or release to put down your thoughts onto paper ?

senua Thu 19-Apr-18 17:51:22

I haven't got a question. I just want to say how much I appreciate hearing one of the few public voices speaking sense on sex/gender.
"Our preoccupation with gender identity is a cultural step backwards. For me, the self transcends sex."

CarrotyO Thu 19-Apr-18 18:53:31

How much do your books evolve as you write them? As in - do the plot and characters pan out as originally planned or do things change a lot as you go?

Goonergirl1 Thu 19-Apr-18 20:29:35

Where do you get your inspiration for your stories? I have read several of your books and found them all very different - not only in subject matter.
I would love to read your short stories. Very difficult to do well but brilliant when it works!

danigrace Thu 19-Apr-18 20:45:05

What's your writing "routine" if you have one?

Itscurtainsforyou Thu 19-Apr-18 20:46:09

Following in from We Need To Talk About Kevin, what's your view on the Florida students fighting to improve gun laws in the US and the media backlash against them?

Itscurtainsforyou Thu 19-Apr-18 20:46:28

Following ON that is

sarahsusannah Thu 19-Apr-18 20:58:11

Hello Lionel - I'm a big fan of your writing and have just read The Standing Chandelier, which is so beautifully written and also funny. While reading it, it occurred to me how very detailed and visual your writing is, with images that stick in the reader's mind. Do you by any chance draw or sculpt as well as writing?

sarahsusannah Thu 19-Apr-18 20:58:12

Hello Lionel - I'm a big fan of your writing and have just read The Standing Chandelier, which is so beautifully written and also funny. While reading it, it occurred to me how very detailed and visual your writing is, with images that stick in the reader's mind. Do you by any chance draw or sculpt as well as writing?

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 19-Apr-18 20:59:25

We’re delighted to welcome Lionel Shriver to Mumsnet book club on this balmy Thursday evening. We’ve been trying to organise this for a long time and we’re thrilled that we’ve finally got it together. Lionel will be answering questions between now and 10pm. Over to you Lionel…

LionelShriver Thu 19-Apr-18 21:00:45

Hi! Nice to be back.

BookerG Thu 19-Apr-18 21:01:26

Have you enjoyed writing a collection of short stories. What was the attraction of the short story form? Did you enjoy it and what did it offer you? Who are your favourite short story writers?

LionelShriver Thu 19-Apr-18 21:03:41

sarahsusannah

Hello Lionel - I'm a big fan of your writing and have just read The Standing Chandelier, which is so beautifully written and also funny. While reading it, it occurred to me how very detailed and visual your writing is, with images that stick in the reader's mind. Do you by any chance draw or sculpt as well as writing?

That's funny you should notice that. When I was a kid, I devoted as much effort to visual art as to writing. I became a pretty good metalsmith and figure sculptor as a young adult. The worst thing for my artwork has been literary success! I spent the time I once did on art on journalism and publicity. A loss, really. But there's still a strong visual sense in the books. And I am a tyrant about book covers! Vvvv picky.

LionelShriver Thu 19-Apr-18 21:05:55

BookerG

Have you enjoyed writing a collection of short stories. What was the attraction of the short story form? Did you enjoy it and what did it offer you? Who are your favourite short story writers?

The attraction is a story doesn't take two years! It's satisfying to tell a whole tale, and finish a project, in a week or two. And in stories, you can take big leaps that you wouldn't get away with in a novel. As for other writers, check out the stories of Richard Yates. Great stuff. Also, William Trevor has never written a bad short story in his life.

Love2read22 Thu 19-Apr-18 21:06:19

Hi Lionel, I am a big fan of your novels and really loved The Mandibles. I believe you wrote it before Trump came into power. Now that Trump is in, is truth stranger than any fiction? What are your thoughts on him being elected?

bellabelly Thu 19-Apr-18 21:07:36

Bit of a cheesy question (sorry!) but which of your novels is your best, in your opinion and why?

LionelShriver Thu 19-Apr-18 21:08:29

Goonergirl1

Where do you get your inspiration for your stories? I have read several of your books and found them all very different - not only in subject matter.
I would love to read your short stories. Very difficult to do well but brilliant when it works!

I think I may rely a little more heavily on incidents in my own life for short stories than I do when writing long-form fiction. Otherwise, the Daily Telegraph is a fount of material! I love those stories about neighbours who fall out, take each other to court, or sometimes even kill each other over the height of a hedge.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 19-Apr-18 21:09:53

I know you have quite a few questions to get through but can we put to you the Mumsnet questions that we put to all our book club authors:

What was your favourite childhood book?

What was the last book you bought someone as a gift?

And the last book you received?

And finally - can you describe to us the room where you wrote Property?

bellabelly Thu 19-Apr-18 21:10:07

@Love2read22 - I really enjoyed 'The Mandibles' too but it almost felt too close to home and all too possible. Think the bits about the nursing home and the Old / Young wealth divide were the bits that really resonated with me.

LionelShriver Thu 19-Apr-18 21:10:28

Love2read22

Hi Lionel, I am a big fan of your novels and really loved The Mandibles. I believe you wrote it before Trump came into power. Now that Trump is in, is truth stranger than any fiction? What are your thoughts on him being elected?

Really glad you liked The Mandibles. I had such a wonderful time writing it. And you're right, I wrote the first draft before Trump declared his candidacy. As for Trump: stranger than fiction. A little too strange. I can't imagine spending another 2.5+ years in this state of chronic embarrassment.

LionelShriver Thu 19-Apr-18 21:12:40

bellabelly

*@Love2read22* - I really enjoyed 'The Mandibles' too but it almost felt too close to home and all too possible. Think the bits about the nursing home and the Old / Young wealth divide were the bits that really resonated with me.

Yes, I had a ball with that insider allusion to KEVIN, whereby instead of school shootings you had nursing home shootings--by young people resentful of all the resources the elderly were monopolizing.

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