Megan Nolan is primarily a writer who has worked in the mediums of journalism , poetry and performance. Currently she is writing a book which we were privileged to hear an extract from. Nolan started writing at the age of sixteen but lost interest when she went to university and because of this, dropped out.
For most of the talk Nolan read from her work. I found her writing incredibly moving yet emotionally raw. It was difficult to determine to what extent her writing is true or fiction. In her writing gender and relationships were continuously called into question as she described her/the characters dependency on the opposite sex and the resentment this held. This relates particularly to her stance on the term ‘confessional writing’ which she rejects entirely. Nolan has noted that all of the writing as personal as Nolan’s have been deemed as ‘confessional’ if written by a woman, yet classed as a ‘memoir’ or a ‘reporting’ if written by a man.
Nolan hopes to capture and describe a factual reality and stated that: ‘Life is embarrassing, why not art?’. Nolan herself is incredibly honest with her past and herself. I felt she was incredibly brave for writing, almost in a cathartic sense, about her abortion (which were banned in Ireland) and her tumultuous relationships. Often she found that stories such as hers were presented and displayed in the media with stock images of young women looking sad and defeated. Nolan recounted how this made her feel as if her pain was entirely shallow and one dimensional ‘lacking in [a crucial] self’ which sparked a frustration that is evident in her work.
A student asked Nolan about how she dealt with such raw, real, almost tangible emotions when writing and she replied once her work is performed, she feels entirely cleansed of them. She also explained that it normally takes her a full day to get out what needs to be written or said.