Having had such an enjoyable time at last year’s NAWE conference, I was really happy to take part in another panel discussion there this year. This time, Emma Claire Sweeney and I gave a presentation on the subject of friendships between writers along with two other “writing friends”, Emily Pedder and Monique Roffey.
Some people might remember that Emily and Monique were two of the writers we interviewed for our feature in The Times
back in May. Taking the newspaper article as a starting point, we used our session at the conference to ask Monique and Emily some questions inspired by what they’d told us the last time we met with them.
Emma and I were also able to delve a little further into the friendships of some of the historical writers that our research for the article had centred on – Brontë and Gaskell, Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Mansfield and Woolf to name but a few – as well as discussing practical tips with our audience of modern day writers for ways of sustaining a successful writing friendship through the good as well as the rockier times.
Having been friends with Emma for well over a decade now, I feel extremely lucky to have someone who’s been with me through my writing years. As we shared with the group at the conference, there have been ups and downs in the trajectories of our careers, disappointments as well as triumphs, but something I really do appreciate is that Emma’s been there for the whole of this period and that she’s still usually the first person I turn to if I have a difficult decision to make or a knotty plot problem that I’m struggling to untangle.