←Back to Julia's Diary

9th September 2003


Last night was the event at APARTMENT, with paintings by Emma Holliday and poems by me. It was a great place, very swanky, with low sofas and cushions. I particularly like venues where I can lie down if necessary! There were hundreds of lovely people there…everywhere you looked. Then at about eight o clock, it suddenly became a night club and all the lights dimmed. I find Emma’s paintings very exciting and alive. I hope we can do some more collaborating…I would like to tag along when she takes her easel somewhere, and sit on the grass/sand/a nearby bench with my notebook. I find the best thing about working with artists is that it creates a whole new seam of work that wouldn’t happen without the inspiration of another’s visual eye.

I am working on the new novel again now, and also beginning the research for a new play for Live Theatre next year about Red Spot Babies. In the forties health authorities realised there were more infant deaths in the North east than anywhere else, so they set up a health survey, taking a thousand babies in the area and following their lives and environments closely right up until today. So there is masses of data and information about all these people. The play could be about so many things. Anyway, next week I am visiting a 90 yr old who was a home visitor/nurse for the project. It’s all very interesting, and I have no idea yet what the play will be about.

I’m reading Brick Lane by Monica Ali. It’s a marvelous book. I long to return to it. The only thing I don’t like about it is that large parts of it are in italics. I really dislike italics when I am reading, as they get in the way of being ‘inside’ the story…you are always thinking ‘Here I am reading italics.’

I have had a cheerful thought about the booker longlist. The writers who do not make the shortlist will be wonderful company as there are so many good books on the list.

I am all over the place this Autumn: Kings Lynn, Derby, Ilkley, Cheltenham, Belfast, Hebden Bridge, Cockermouth, Warwick, Hull and York. Many complimentary soaps, English breakfasts and hand shakes.