Tag Archives: Karen Joy Fowler

Book Giveaway – Alison Jean Lester’s ‘Lillian on

It was my great pleasure to befriend the terrific Alison Jean Lester at the Singapore Writer’s Festival last November. Sassy, sophisticated, intelligent and filled with joie-de-vivre,  I fell immediately for Lillian, the protagonist in Alison’s first novel Lillian On Life – qualities shared with the author herself.

I was fortunate to read an advance copy of the debut, which is wise, poignant, sexy, and unexpected. It’s been no surprise to learn of its success in the US and elsewhere in the world, and I anticipate a similar positive reaction with its UK publication next month (I gather it has been selected as a Book of the Month by WHSmith – so we’ll be seeing this glorious cover a lot over the summer….).

Alison knows of my involvement in disability arts and culture, and so asked me to help promote her giveaway of three copies of the large print edition to visually impaired readers based in the UK. You can find out how to get your hands on a signed large print copy of Lillian on Life, below. For those interested in reading more about Alison, please see her fantastic answers to my ’20 Questions’ on writing, creativity, life and all on this blog. You can read it here.

Large print cover of 'Lillian on Life' by Alison Jean Lester

Large print cover of ‘Lillian on Life’ by Alison Jean Lester

Alison Jean Lister writes:

I’m very excited about the paperback edition of Lillian on Life coming out in the UK on July 2nd. They’ve created a brand new cover, with endorsements from Karen Joy Fowler (“I completely loved Lillian on Life. What a great voice, what energy and wit.”) and Adele Parks (“A beautifully written, deft debut; edgy, elegant Lillian will stay with you.”) on top of praise from Kate Atkinson and Erica Jong. Pinch me!

I’m equally happy that I’ve just received three copies of the large-print edition, and I’m doing a Twitter campaign to give them away to visually impaired readers. All they need to do is follow me and tweet to me, @A_J_Lester, and I will be in contact by Direct Message to get the winners’ postal addresses. Alternatively, contact me via my website (below), with a few words on why they’d like to read it, and I’ll choose three winners to whom I’ll send a signed copy.

More details on the book are available on my website here: http://www.alisonjeanlester.com/lillian-on-life/.


Words from the Singapore Writer’s Festival 2014

I’m exhausted and exhilarated after a full weekend of workshops, panels, performances, readings, and discussions at the Singapore Writer’s Festival. Time is short, as I have work pending and things I should be doing other than writing a blog – so until I can reflect on the experience with more ease and depth, here’s a few comments from the past few days to get minds thinking and imagination igniting:

‘I don’t think people aspire to be an essayist, because there’s nothing ‘special’ about the essay. It’s the first form we’re taught at school when we’re about twelve or thirteen – it’s the first building block of education: we’re given facts and we write it up, as homework… And you have a career and now in middle age, you look back and go ‘Shit! It’s been thirty years of homework.’   Geoff Dyer.

On a panel about morality, Man Booker prize shortlisted novelist Karen Joy Fowler said:

‘The project of literature and art is to acknowledge other lives and extend tolerance and celebration about our differences….The project of art and literature is to extend the circle of empathy…’

In a masterclass I was fortunate to attend with Paul Muldoon (see previous blog), he concluded the session with:

‘What’s not possible if you honour the poem that wants to write itself, if you give it the chance? Allow it to have its way with you.’

There were many panels and discussions around the issue of gender and writing, and ‘Woman at the Crossroad’ – moments of profound change, after which nothing is the same again. Reflecting on such a moment in her own life, the novelist Lee Su Kim said, on giving up journalism to become a fiction writer:

‘I was a journalist and I realised I wanted to write paragraphs, not soundbites.’

On a sister panel, about the pleasures and burdens of being a female poet, Marilyn Chin woke up the audience in more ways than one with her statement:

‘I am not afraid of my womaness, nor the F word – Feminism. I am not afraid of race, or gender, or sexuality. I write the truth. I write with my bodily juices, because when I write, I should use everything I have, and it’s all woman.’

I will reflect more on the festival over future posts…. Meanwhile hope you enjoyed these morsels.