25th Oct 2010
Lit at Ladyfest Ten: Interview with Shelagh Rowan-Legg
Commencing this week’s Lit at Ladyfest Ten preview interviews (try saying that ten times fast!), we chatted to writer and film critic Shelagh Rowan-Legg…
Tell us about yourself and your work?
I recently moved to London to do my MPhil/PhD in Film Studies at Kings College. I have been writing poetry for about twenty years, but I expect it’s only been good for about 10 years. In Toronto, I was editor of a literary newsletter, publisher of a chapbook press, and have been published in several journals across Canada.
What can we expect from your event at Ladyfest Ten?
A very nervous reader! I haven’t done a reading for a few years, as I was taking some time out. So hopefully the pages won’t shake too much!
One of the main aims of Lit at Ladyfest Ten is to promote and celebrate writing by women. What advice would you give to women finding it tough to carve out their own niche?
I’ve never really thought about writing as a woman per se, but more as a person. Tell your own experience, or your own imagination, and don’t worry if it’s too feminist or not feminist enough. Certainly, it is harder for women, but the important thing is to find your own voice.
What has your experience been as a woman working in your industry?
I’ve mainly been working in the film and academic industries. It’s a varied experience. In film, while women are administrators, programmers, executives, we’ve still got a long way to go on the creative side. It’s getting better, there are more women directors who are being taken seriously and whose work is not dismissed. Academia has been perhaps a little more open to women. But it also depends on where you are; certainly we are much luckier in the western world. But in every industry, we still have a long fight.
How important is sex, sexuality and gender to you and your writing?
I don’t think of myself as a woman writer, I think of myself as a writer. Of course my work is going to be influences by my sexual experiences and thoughts, and my gender, but more because as a woman I am constantly reminded of my gender in a way that men are not and that changes the way I think of the world. But again, for me it is more about the human experience.
Thanks to Shelagh for taking the time to answer our questions. She’ll be appearing at the For Books’ Sake Poetry Showcase on Sunday 14th November at The Horatia, get booking those tickets!
Post by Alex Herod