Shirley-Anne McMillan Explains Herself (A Talk With Cake)
Saturday 13th April
The 343 (431-437 Newtownards Rd, Belfast BT4 1AQ There’s a free car park beside it)
2pm- approx 3pm
The event I’m doing next week is in a place called The 343, which is the old Ulster Bank building in East Belfast. Over the last few years it has been used by artists and this year The 343 are using it as a queer and feminist art space. I’m thrilled to be doing an event in it, especially since one of my books, The Unknowns, is partly about utilising such spaces in the city to make new art.
When The 343 said I could use the space I knew that I wanted to do something that I hadn’t done before. So I’m doing an author talk which will include me reading bits from my books, but I’m basing it around questions that I think people sometimes want to ask but don’t because they don’t want to appear rude. They’re also questions I sometimes ask myself. Things like:
Why do you write YA fiction and not adult fiction? Is it because you’re not very good at writing?
Why do you have queer characters in your books when you’re not queer yourself?
Why do you write about outsiders when you are clearly middle class? Are you a champagne socialist?
What about Kevin and Sadie and writing about The Troubles?
Isn’t it a bit worthy to write ‘gritty reality’ in fiction? Aren’t teenagers patronised by middle aged ladies telling them about their lives? Who are you anyway? Jamie Oliver?
What about ‘own voices’?
What about feminism?
Why do you swear so f**king much in your books?
Why are you so obsessed with religion?
Fatties can’t climb up cranes. What are you talking about?
I want to leave plenty of space for people to join the chat and ask their own questions and maybe help me answer these ones.
This event is aimed at older young people and adults. I’m saying that because there will probably be swears in the readings, but mainly because that’s who reads my books so that’s who I’m thinking of when I’m asking myself these questions.
I’m hoping that it will be a fun event and I’ve decided that I’m bringing cake. It’s free and if you want to give me money I will not stop you but I will also not expect anything of you beyond basic personal hygiene and maybe technical help if the projector fails. Actually if the projector fails I will require everyone to create a dramatic tableaux of the slides that I had prepared. Thanks in advance.
So, please come! Please pass this on to anyone you think might be remotely interested! Anyone who reads fictional stories of any sort! Anyone who enjoys Derry Girls! Anyone who writes things! Anyone who likes cake! But maybe not the wee’ns, unless you’re cool with a big sweary lady going on at them for a bit.