Circa 2, Circa Theatre
Friday, March 9
This Writers & Readers session, dubbed Bloody Difficult Women, featured Annaleese Jochems (author of Baby) and Kirsten McDougall (author of Tess and also The Invisible Rider) in conversation with fellow novelist Catherine Robertson.
A spirited discussion emerged, though Robertson was far too dominant, bringing the conversation back to herself and projecting all sorts of angers and frustrations that would have been better suited were she in the interviewee’s chair.
The topic was largely around the importance of writing difficult women characters, of showing people unravelling or imperfect, of stepping beyond the clichés and providing real grit and gumption, but also in providing female characters that are confused, unlikeable, immoral perhaps but certainly strong.
Great examples came from Jochems’ work and McDougall’s and if Jochems was shy, though still slyly candid, McDougall was passionate, erudite, articulate.
I cringed entering the event, the person on the door telling me I was brave. I played dumb (natural gift/default setting) and inquired as to the source of this bravery. “Well, it’s a session for women” the usher said, pointing to what she must have assumed was a room full of only women. Yes, men were the minority – but you’d think any man attending this sort of session should be greeted, not mocked. I’m looking for no sort of award or reward – but pushing back too far seems odd.
It was a problematic session on the whole, largely ruined by Robertson’s overbearing attitude toward it all. But I enjoyed hearing the authors speak when given the chance. McDougall’s recent book is terrific. And this session reminded me I really must read Annaleese Jochems’ work. Everyone I know that has had that pleasure has raved.
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