In the latest online event in The Portico Library’s 2022 Rewriting The North programme, writers Tabitha Lasley and Jeff Young talk about place, life writing and blurred genres to Dr David Cooper of the Centre for Place Writing.
“Sea State marks the arrival of a gifted and exciting new voice” – Jon McGregor.
Tabitha Lasley was a journalist for 10 years, and has lived in London, Johannesburg and Aberdeen. Her work has been published in the Guardian, Esquire, the London Review of Books, and her first book Sea State: A Memoir was published by HarperCollins in February. Described as “a candid examination of the life of North Sea oil riggers, and an explosive portrayal of masculinity, loneliness and female desire”, the book was shortlisted for the Portico Prize 2022 and the Gordon Burn Prize, and longlisted for the Folio Award. Jon McGregor, author of Reservoir 13, says: “These are powerful and moving stories of working lives in a dangerous and all-male environment, made all the more powerful by the way Lasley refuses to absent herself from the telling. The writing is carefully and unobtrusively polished, with hard edges and unflinching clarity, and a memorable turn of phrase. Sea State marks the arrival of a gifted and exciting new voice.”
Jeff Young is a writer for theatre, radio and screen, whose TV credits include Eastenders, CBBC and Casualty. He broadcasts essays for Radio 3, collaborates with artists and musicians on sound art installations, and has worked on many arts projects in Liverpool and elsewhere, including completing a residency in Bill Drummond’s Curfew Tower. His book Ghost Town was also longlisted for the Portico Prize 2022 and it was shortlisted for the 2020 Costa Biography prize, and is described as “a love letter to the hidden Liverpool of the author’s youth in a lyrical melding of memoir, history and photography”. He is currently writing his second book for Little Toller Books, Wild Twin.
Dr David Cooper is a Senior Lecturer in English and the founding Co-Director (with Rachel Lichtenstein) of the Centre for Place Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. His interdisciplinary research focuses on the relationship between literature and geographical thought. He is co-editor of the The Routledge Handbook of Literary Geographies, forthcoming with Routledge.
The Rewriting the North series celebrates writers and writing connected with the North of England. The 2022 season of Rewriting the North explores themes in the Portico Prize 2022 winning novel, Toto Among The Murderers by Sally J Morgan, which captures life for young women on the edges of counterculture in 1970s Sheffield and Leeds. Themes that are explored in the novel and that will be discussed during the events include the impact of male violence, fiction about the recent past, memoir fused with fiction, writing about the north at a distance, and women’s art.
Rewriting the North is funded by the Arts Council and is curated by the Portico Library in partnership with the Centre for Place Writing, Manchester Metropolitan University.