Sarah Windebank for New Writing South

What are the challenges of your own life experiences, and do these present in your writing, as concerns, themes, ways of thinking about writing?

‘I have suffered from mental health problems since my adolescence, most likely as a consequence of being sexually abused as a fifteen year old. Thus, I have self-harmed, suffered from bulimia nervosa and depression, been diagnosed with psychotic episodes and paranoia and consequently experienced material poverty.  Sometimes I wonder, though, because of my involvement in women’s and LGBTQ politics and writing groups, whether it is just a lack of acceptance on the part of  the psychiatric services that people are gay, which has caused many of my problems.

Writing as catharsis, has helped me with psychiatric and social problems. Taking an MA in Creative Writing and Personal Development at Sussex University, a course that focused on the therapeutic as well as the aesthetic purpose of writing fiction and poetry, has been helpful.

Life in a psychiatric hostel, or a halfway house for homeless youth, or a council flat alone in an alien place with new born twins, makes me want to speak out, and so some of my writing, I hope, has a radical bite to it.’

Sarah Windebank, author of poetry collection Memories of a Swedish Grandmother is interviewed by New Writing South about her life experiences, writing  and what she’s currently working on.

Read in full HERE.