Great LezBritain: Interview with Joanna Briscoe


AE: Writing is notorious for being a lonely profession does it help or maybe hinder you that your partner is also an author? Do you share your ideas with each other?
JB: We talk about keeping a “glass wall” between us, in that we have to retain mental space so for instance, we try not to do the same festivals, or be interviewed together, and we only read each other’s work once we’ve made considerable progress with it. It could all become too enmeshed and intense, so we make conscious efforts not to merge in terms of our work, and in fact our writing styles are very different anyway. We do help each other a lot when needed. When stuck, the other one can usually throw a bit of plot into the air very easily — far more easily than we can for ourselves! — and we certainly edit each other on later drafts.

AE: The British press have commented that in the current climate, lesbians are of a new generation that are rich and successful and smashing stereotypes with their glamour and spending power! Do you think that this so-called new lesbian wave is prevalent?
JB: I think this is probably largely a media invention! I have no idea of the average spending power of lesbians; the idea of the “pink pound” is prevalent, but how much is that a reality for women, given women statistically still earn a lot less than men? Certainly there are now quite a few “out,” glamorous, successful lesbians, but these few are picked up by the press, and I don’t get a sense that there’s a new wave particularly. Certainly aesthetics have changed as time goes on, though.

AE: You and Charlotte were named by the London Standard a few months ago as a “power lesbian couple.” Were you both delighted?
JB: Really NOT! We were amused, and aghast at the utterly horrendous photo they managed to dig up of us, and I was only aware of it by late afternoon when people began texting me. Again, the whole idea is just media fluff, but fairly harmless fluff.

Briscoe’s partner, Charlotte Mendelson

AE: What is next for Joanna Briscoe in 2010? Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
JB: To carry on as I am, finish my next novel by early 2011, so I’ve finished it by the time Sleep With Me’s successor is published, and go out and do a few more exciting things. Being on my film set was such fun, I swore I’d let myself out of the library where I write for good behavior. So if I’m writing productively, I’m also going to allow myself time off to see a few exhibitions and just do things that will get me out of that library. For instance, I’ve agreed to teach on a creative writing MA just for one term, as it’s work that doesn’t just involve me and a word processor.

AE: Is there anything else you’d like to say to readers?
JB: Happy New Year, and I’m glad to be featured on the website. My next novel — title still being fought over! — is published at the beginning of 2011 by Bloomsbury USA, and I’d love to hear what American readers think of it through my website — In the meantime, enjoy 2010, and happy reading.

Sleep With Me is released on DVD in the UK today.

More you may like