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Julie Bindel Interview

Posted on 09 August 2004. © Copyright 2004-2017 WriteWords
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WriteWords talks to campaigner and freelance journalist Julie Bindel, whose often controversial and hard-hitting views have earned her the tag of 'Marmite' writer; love her or loathe her.

Tell us something about your background.

I am a freelance journalist, and only write non-fiction. I write mainly for the Guardian, and occasionally for other publications. I have written three features to date for Guardian Weekend magazine, on [b[female sex tourists in Jamaica, the gay map of Britain, and prostitution policy in Europe. I also write columns and comment/opinion pieces, and interviews.

I am co-editor of The Map of my Life: The Story of Emma Humphreys, Astraia Press, 2003.

How did you start writing?

I am involved in a feminist law reform campaign, Justice for Women, which seeks to change the law on homicide and domestic violence in general. We campaign to overturn the convictions of women imprisoned for life for killing their abusers. I started to write to get the message across to the wider public about the grotesque discrimination and prejudice in the law as regards women who have endured torture in the home and resort to killing to save their own lives. I asked Guardian Women if they wanted a piece from me, and it went on from there.

Who are your favourite writers and why?

I love crime thrillers. I used to love Patricia Cornwell until she became so right wing I couldn't bear it, but I recently discovered Mo Hayder and Martina Cole. Rose George is a great journalistic writer, and Gary Younge from the Guardian. In terms of theory, I have to read so much for my work as a researcher that I tend not to enjoy much anymore.

How did you get your first commission?

Although I had written shorter pieces for the Guardian previously, I see my first 'real' piece as the feature on Jamaica for Weekend in 2003.I had an idea for the piece after reading an academic paper on female sex tourism, so pitched it to the Weekend editor. She liked it.

What’s the worst thing about writing?

Starting off with a great idea/hook and, after researching it, discovering your theory won't stand up.

And the best?

The research.

What kind of response do you get from readers?

I've been called a Marmite writer - either loved or hated. I have very firm, and often controversial politics and beliefs. After doing a couple of Julie Burchill's old slot in Weekend at the beginning of the year, I received 200 emails of complaint, plus 30 letter of support. I am sometimes stopped in the street and told that this one particular column I wrote, about smug, middle class parents in Crouch End (where I live) was the best thing they ever read. On the other hand, some people stopped speaking to me. I regularly get women writing to me who have suffered abuse, as I often write about sexual violence, and men telling me I should be shot at dawn.



A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.






Comments by other Members



halfwayharry at 16:10 on 10 August 2004  Report this post
Hi Julie

I found this interesting. I work with the perpetrators of Domestic Violence and agree that major legal changes are needed. I could rant on but won't.

It's a shame that you don't really enjoy reading any more but I suppose that's the price you pay when you write for a living.

Good luck

Peter


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