Life Writing


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In our age, self-publishing, self-broadcasting, and telling stories about our own lives and the lives of others are all-pervasive. This is also the age of the witness, the age of testimony in which first-hand accounts, personal experience, life change and evolution are valued, for good or ill, over distanced reflection. What are we to make of all this telling of lives? The essays collected in Life Writing: The Spirit of the Age and the State of the Art from writers and academics associated with the Centre for Life Narrative Studies at Kingston University in London, begin to address this very question, and in doing so demonstrate the fluidity and diversity of life writing itself. The remit of the Centre for Life Narratives is to rise to the challenge poised to writers, teachers and researchers alike by this very fluidity and diversity in our discipline and is exemplified here with contributions from academics, curators, editors and biographers, including Neal Ascherson,Victoria Glendinning, Professor Kathryn Hughes, Hanif Kureishi, Blake Morrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. This collection of essays from CLN offers the reader our founding contribution to the debates that surround this era-defining genre and as such presents both the state of the art and the spirit of our age.

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