Genetic Engineering and Feminist Theatre at Ujima

I spent all of yesterday in Bristol. Mainly that was because I had a whole hour of live radio to fill, and two fabulous guests. The show is available here. To whet your appetites, here is some of what we discussed.

The first half hour is devoted to Stephanie Saulter and her fabulous debut novel, Gemsigns. I’ll do a proper review soon, but right now please take it that this one is highly recommended. If you listen to Stephanie talk about the book I’m sure you’ll understand some of the reasons why. The discussion ranges fairly widely, and includes mention of genetic engineering, Heinlein and the X-men, plus Stephanie’s equally talented brother, Storm, whose movie, Better Mus’ Come, is reviewed in the New York Times. Mostly we talk about the dehumanization of minority groups, and there’s a special shout out to Bristol MP, Kerry McCarthy, for her support of the Lucy Meadows vigil.

The second half hour features Hannah-Marie Chidwick of the Hecate Theatre Company. The discussion revolves around around the challenges faced by women in the theatre, what happens when women play roles written for men, and a whole lot of gender politics. There are special mentions for Stella Duffy (obviously) and for stand-up comedian, Elf Lyons, whom I met on Tuesday night at Hecate’s “Curtains for Feminism” event.

My thanks to Stephanie and Hannah for being great guests, to Judeline and Shanice on the panel, the Adrian our tech guy, and of course to Paulette for letting me take over half of her show. I continue to cringe at how many mistakes I make, but everyone else says I’m doing OK and I keep getting invited back so I guess I must be improving.

After the show I took Stephanie around bookstore in Bristol where she could sign copies of her book. There’s nothing quite like watching a debut author see her books on the shelf for the first time. Also she’s very smart and we had lots to talk about, which made it a great afternoon.

Dinner in My Burrito (where they have a lovely new chiptole meatball recipe going) was followed by a trip to Foyles with Jo Hall to see Sarah Le Fanu launch her latest book, Dreaming of Rose. There was fizzy booze, and cupcakes.And finally Jo and I had a meeting with the Bristol Literary Festival folks to hatch plans.

I managed almost 24,000 steps on the pedometer during the day. I’m was very stiff this morning.