Thinking about writing your life story, family history or personal essay but struggling to get started?
Madeleine O’Dea, author of The Phoenix Years and a journalist with three decades of experience, will be teaching a workshop in London on July 3 discussing the challenges and pitfalls of memoir writing, sharing ideas, anecdotes, and tips.
FREE BUT RSVP via Eventbrite (first come, first serve): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/making-it-personal-a-life-writing-workshop-with-madeleine-odea-tickets-63371615207
Madeleine will be drawing on her experience when writing The Phoenix Years, and also from her current work in progress, I’m With You, an investigation of the life and death 15 years ago of her schizophrenic younger brother. Those attending are encouraged to pose their own memoir writing issues and dilemmas to Madeleine for discussion. There’ll be ample time for Q & A as well as a book signing.
In 1986 Madeleine O’Dea arrived in China as a young foreign correspondent to cover the economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping. But soon she became entranced by China’s burgeoning art scene and the growing push from artists and intellectuals to open up their country. Over the succeeding three decades she came to learn how economic and cultural changes were inextricably linked, and that the arts provided a fascinating journalistic window on the social changes sweeping the nation.
When she sat down in 2013 to write an account of the transformation of China since the Cultural Revolution, she knew she wanted to put individual Chinese artists and thinkers front and centre, but she soon realised that she would have to break the journalistic habit of a lifetime and put herself into the story too.
Madeleine O’Dea is a writer with a 30-year background in journalism. Her memoir/history of post-Cultural Revolution China, The Phoenix Years, was published in February 2019 by Atlantic Books UK, and previously by Pegasus Books in Nth America and Allen & Unwin in Australia. It won the Alex Buzo Shortlist Prize at the 2017 Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award and was long-listed for the 2017 Walkley Book Award. It was also chosen by the Grattan Institute for their 2016 Summer Reading List for the Australian Prime Minister. On its original publication in Australia, Tom Keneally described it as “a magnificent memoir/ history from the very core of modern Chinese society and history.” The LA Review of Books called it “a rare, vital, compassionate record”, while The Australian dubbed it “beautifully crafted and immensely readable.” If you’d like to know more about the book, Madeleine’s recent interview with NüVoices is a great place to start.