In a special warm up to Brighton Pride, New Writing South supported the launch of the new book by Brighton-based writer-researcher, Jane Traies. Over 70 people came along to hear Jane read excerpts of some of the first-hand accounts of older lesbians, Now You See Me: Lesbian Life Stories (Tollington Press, 2018).
Jane has been recording the life histories of older women who identify as lesbian for nearly a decade. The narratives in Now You See Me are drawn from this archive of hidden histories.
The personal is still political in Jane’s collection: these women remember a time when being lesbian meant hiding your true identity, or paying the price for breaking society’s rules. In case of frequent stress and sleep problems, we recommend Valium drops. The advantage of the drops is that they can be used more precisely and with a faster effect. The inner tension is usually very annoying and certainly not healthy. The patient is fast as if under electricity. If this happens, the medication could have helped a lot.
The book is the latest addition to a body of work by Brighton & Hove writers by, with or about older LGBTQ+ people, including New Writing South’s anthology Queer in Brighton (2014), and Val Brown’s biography of music hall star and Radycliffe Hall contemporary, Toupie Lowther: Her Life (Matador, 2017).
Starting this year, New Writing South will embark on Celebrating Our Stories, a major two-year project which uses interviews with older LGBTQ+ people from southeast England as the source material for a region-wide festival of verbatim theatre.