December 02, 2014

Five Minutes With Feminist Writer Julie Burchill


Julie Burchill has always been a controversial figure in the media industry and this is one of the main reasons I love reading her writing. Anyone that breaks boundaries or questions the norm are just brilliant. I like how she completely embraces that not everyone will agree with her whilst staying true to her beliefs. Also she wrote Sugar Rush which was on TV when I was a kid and it was a bit more daring than other ‘teen’ TV shows – I remember finding her work quite exciting. Like reading Just 17 when you’re only 15. Rebellious.

Burchill has a book coming out called Unchosen which has been funded through Unbound which got the go ahead in November 2013. The interesting thing about this book is that her second husband Cosmo Landesman, has written his own autobiography too, called Starstruck which gives a different account of how he saw their marriage. One marriage, two stories.

The two of them will be discussing their opposing memoirs on their marriage together at the Hospital Club in London tonight. The question is, how reliable can memoirs actually be?

I’m very excited to read both books.

So I had 5 short mins with Burchill and here’s what she had to say. She doesn’t beat around the bush:

What made you want to write this new book UNCHOSEN?
I have been an admirer of the Jews since I was a teenager and two years ago, when the journalism work trailed off, this seemed a good point. (The book has been described as “not a book for anyone who wants balance or an even-handed historical account of modern Jewish culture”).

What was the hardest thing about it?
Nothing – I still love to write, even though I’ve been published since I was 17 and am 55 now.

How did you know your marriage was over?
I fell in love with somebody else.

How did you get over your break up initially?
I was very happy, as I was newly in love, and I could be with my girlfriends.

How did your friends/ family react?
My poor parents were devastated as this was the second husband and child I’d left; my friends knew how wild I was and weren’t surprised.

What advice would you give any of our readers struggling with a break up currently?
I don’t know – I’ve always been the one who left. Each time I have found someone who suits me better. I was with my first husband years, the second 10 years and I’ve been with my third (and I hope last) husband Daniel for a whopping 20 in 2015.

So you definitely believe in marriage?
I love being married – that’s why I’ve done it three times.

What have you learned about yourself in the process?
That I’m selfish and honest.

Did you have any dark thoughts or memorable low moments?
Almost everyone one feels sad sometimes, I think. But on the whole, I’ve become far happier as I’ve grown older, and that’s much to do with my third husband.

Was the break up in any way a bit of a blessing?
It was a TOTAL blessing.

What are you looking forward to in 2015?
Writing, travelling and being with Dan.

Do you think it’s a silly notion to think there’s one person for everyone?
Yes, I think there’s no such thing as The One – it’s more like The Queue.

How do you react to negativity/trolling?
I miss it most of all now I no longer have a newspaper column – I miss those comments even more than the money. But then I am very impervious to the unkindness of strangers.

Advice for 20-something aspiring writers?
Get hold of a time machine and go back to the 80s, if your parents aren’t in the business. Nepotism is eating journalism alive.

You can buy Unchosen here.

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