“We are our stories; we are our secrets”

Dolly Alderton spoke about her book Everything I Know About Love and reflected on turning 30.

Writing as a middle-class, white woman, Alderton recognised her privileges but was quick to emphasise the inequality that female writers encounter.

She said, “I see this accusation of privilege and therefore a demand of silence to be constantly thrown at women, and never really thrown at men.”

“We just have to find a way in public discourse of committing to change, hearing lots of different stories, from lots of different people without silencing women.”

The writer also stressed the need for people to act unapologetically and embrace who they are without fear, particularly when dating.

She said, “We are our stories, we are our secrets, we are experiences and information, and those are precious commodities.”  

Following the success of her book, work has already begun on a TV adaptation, and Alderton revealed that she sought inspiration from Rolling Stones’ 1969 album Let It Bleed in the process of writing the screenplay.

 “I was listening to Let it Bleed, a particularly great Rolling Stones album, and in a feverish and sweaty dream in the middle of the night, I suddenly realised that the whole album of is basically about Everything I Know About Love.”

Picture by Marsha Arnold.

If you are interested in literature, also see Mary Norris talk at 2.30 pm, on 28 May. If you like watching Hay Festival events digitally, please sign up to the Hay Player for more from the world’s greatest thinkers.