I got one of those emails on Friday that gladden the heart: apparently Amateurs has been shortlisted for something called the Spear’s Family History Award – I don’t know much about it, but suddenly Spears is my favourite firm and as far as I’m concerned their family history award is the peak of the literary calender.
And talking of Family History, I’ve just started reading Jeanette Winterson’s ‘Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?’ which ought to win the Title of the Year award, right there. I came across the following, which I think is wonderful:
‘Truth for anyone is a very complex thing. For a writer, what you leave out says as much as those things you include. What lies beyond the margin of the text? The photographer frames the shot; writers frame their world.’ I suppose for me, coming at non-fiction from a background in fiction, that was the fascinating discovery – that biography memoir is as much a question of crafting and shaping as fiction ever is. But I love the idea of the importance of what you leave out – kind of the equivalent of the air around a sculpture.