Universal Women – with Aida Edemariam and Sinéad Gleeson
Guardian journalist Aida Edemariam and award-winning writer Sinéad Gleeson present two intimate portrayals of ‘ordinary’ women who find boldness and bravery within the constraints of their bodies, time and place. Examining art, memory, gender, grief, and our ways of seeing, their writing is both deeply personal and universal in its resonance.
In The Wife’s Tale, Aida Edemariam tells the extraordinary story of her grandmother – an indomitable 95-year-old woman – and of the most extraordinary century in Ethiopia’s history.
In Constellations: Reflections from Life, Sinéad Gleeson provides an intimate book of essays that chart the experiences that have made her the woman and the writer she is today.
‘Utterly magnificent’ – Eimear McBride on Constellations
Aida Edemariam, who is of dual Ethiopian and Canadian heritage, grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She studied English literature at Oxford University and the University of Toronto, and has worked as a journalist in New York, Toronto and London, where she is currently a senior feature writer and editor for the Guardian. She is a recipient of a Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for a work of non-fiction in progress, and lives in Oxford.
The Wife’s Tale
AN ECONOMIST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A CBC BOOK OF THE YEAR
In this indelible memoir that recalls the life of her remarkable ninety-five-year old grandmother, Guardian journalist Aida Edemariam tells the story of modern Ethiopia—a nation that would undergo a tumultuous transformation from feudalism to monarchy to Marxist revolution to democracy, over the course of one century. Find out more
‘The power of Aida Edemariam’s writing is precisely its ability to reach across the gaping chasm formed by time, alien tradition and unfamiliar mores, connecting up our common humanity’ – Michela Wrong, New Statesman
‘Edemariam not only brings her grandmother to life but also conveys the complexity of a unique, still strongly religious African culture’ – Andrew Lycett, Literary Review
Sinéad Gleeson is a writer of essays, criticism and fiction. Her writing has appeared in Granta, Winter Papers and Gorse, and a story of hers will appear in Being Various: New Irish Short Stories published by Faber in May 2018. She is the editor of three short anthologies, including The Long Gaze Back: an Anthology of Irish Women Writers and The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women Writers from the North of Ireland, both of which won Best Irish Published Book at the Irish Book Awards. Sinéad has worked as an arts critic and broadcaster and has presented The Book Show on RTÉ Radio 1. She lives in Dublin.
Constellations: Reflections from Life
How do you tell the story of a life in a body, as it goes through sickness, health, motherhood? How do you tell that story when you are not just a woman but a woman in Ireland? In these powerful and daring essays Sinéad Gleeson does that very thing. All of life is within these pages, from birth to first love, pregnancy to motherhood, terrifying sickness, old age and loss to death itself. Throughout this wide-ranging collection she also turns her restless eye outwards delving into work, art and our very ways of seeing. In the tradition of some of our finest life writers, and yet still in her own spirited, generous voice, Sinéad takes us on a journey that is both uniquely personal and yet universal in its resonance. Here is the fierce joy and pain of being alive. Find out more
‘Utterly magnificent. Raw, thought-provoking and galvanising; this is a book every woman should read.’ – Eimear McBride, author of A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing
‘Sinéad Gleeson is an absolute force: if you want to know where passion and tenacity are born, read this book.’ – Anne Enright
Programmed in partnership with Norfolk & Norwich Festival
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Image: Sinéad Gleeson (c) Brid O’Donovan