Month: June 2015

Facts, fictions and performance

Photo credit: Geoff Griffiths

Photo credit: Geoff Griffiths

Rahila Gupta is a writer and journalist and is the author of an article that will be published in our forthcoming issue on ‘Debility and Frailty‘.

Rahila’s son, Nihal, had cerebral palsy and died at the age of 17 in 2001. Rahila began writing a ballad about their life together, Don’t Wake Me: The Ballad of Nihal Armstrong (Gupta, 2013), as a way of coming to terms with Nihal’s death.  In her forthcoming piece for Feminist Review Rahila reflects on how the ballad opened up a conversation about disability both in Britain and in India and how the energies honed from her anti-racist and feminist organising were unleashed in her battles with an educational establishment that labelled and segregated Nihal.

Rahila has recently written a blog post, Pressure To Be Cheerful, for the Royal Literary Fund in which she reflects further on autobiographical writing and the transformation of experience through the performance of her ballad:

There is something about live stage performance which induces in the writer, like an unanswered telephone or a boiling kettle, a compulsive desire to respond. The knowledge that my life is being enacted elsewhere, and that I am absent from it, brings back the rush of guilt I felt when my son was alive that I hadn’t done enough for him. I have been ‘disturbing the dust’ each time I’ve attended the 60-odd outings that Ballad has had across three continents. The actor and the audience with their interpretations and responses skew your memories and add further unexpected layers of meaning. I wanted to unpick that reflexivity, the loop between writer, director, performer, audience and the work itself.

When you think you are writing about a dead person, you discover that you are actually writing about yourself — a self that may also vanish because it existed only in relationship to the person who is gone. Both in the stories that I chose to tell and to withhold I constructed a self which contains both fiction and fact — although which of the two serves the truth better is open to debate. Much of what I describe in Ballad is true, it happened, even if that part of my life seems so exceptional that in some ways it feels like fiction.

Continue reading on Royal Literary Fund website

‘Food’: 2nd Call for Papers

Feminist Review is reissuing its call for articles and Open Space pieces for a special issue on Food. barley

Food is a feminist issue. From production, distribution and consumption, the gendered dynamics of all aspects of this arena of social, cultural and biological life repay feminist interrogation. This special issue invites contributions probing the politics, economics and affects associated with food at every stage of its lifecycle. With this second call we are looking particularly for work that takes a transnational or queer perspective to food, or that revisits feminist debates about food, embodiment and relational eating practices. Possible areas to be explored are:

  • The changing nature of food and sexual/gendered politics
  • Food and feminist organizing or creativity
  • Food, memory and kinship
  • The significance of food for the politics of belonging and migration
  • Food production or consumption and changing geopolitical contexts
  • Representations and food
  • Embodiment: gender, sexuality and eating
  • Or, perhaps you’d like to write something about food and pleasure!

If you would like to discuss your ideas for this issue please contact Feminist Review at Full articles or Open Space pieces in Feminist Review format to be submitted by Wednesday 30 September 2015. Manuscripts should be submitted through Feminist Review’s online submission system and in FR house style.

(image credit: tico_bassie, used under creative commons licence)