Seminar: Dr Anna Beer – “Breaking Stories: Writing Women’s Lives”

Creative Writing Seminar Series
Kellogg College Centre for Creative Writing
Mawby Room, Kellogg College, 62 Banbury Road

5 pm (refreshments) for 5.30 pm
Michaelmas Term Week 7: Thursday 24 November 2016
All are welcome and no bookings are necessary

Dr Anna Beer: “Breaking Stories: Writing Women’s Lives”

Women, just as much as men, believed and believe the stories we tell ourselves about genius. The composer and pianist Clara Wieck, soon to be married to (the tortured genius) Robert Schumann wrote: ‘I once thought I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea; a woman must not desire to compose – not one has been able to do it, and why should I expect to?’

a-beerAnna Beer, author of Sounds and Sweet Airs: the Forgotten Women of Classical Music, will talk about the ways she as a writer set out to challenge Clara’s despair. She will argue that recovering a female tradition (whether in music or in literature) is only the first step, that – in the words of one scholar – it is not enough simply to rewrite history ‘on the principle of add women and stir’.

Beer will explore the possibility of casting aside the usual biographical pegs upon which we hang a creative woman’s life, whether the nun taken from the world, the sacrificial wife, or the maiden aunt. Perhaps it’s time to break the old story, and find new ways to tell the lives of creative powerful women.

Seminar Convenor: Dr Clare Morgan http://www.kellogg.ox.ac.uk/researchcentres/CW