2 June 1960 |
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Julie Myerson (born Julie Susan Pike, 2 June 1960) is an English author and critic. As well as writing both fiction and non-fiction books, she is also known for having written a long-running column in The Guardian entitled "Living with Teenagers" based on her own family experiences. She also appeared regularly as a panellist on the arts programme Newsnight Review.
Education and journalism
She has written a column for The Independent about her domestic trials including her partner, the screenwriter and director Jonathan Myerson, and their children Jacob (known as Jake), Chloe and Raphael. Since then, she has written a column for the Financial Times about homes and houses. Myerson was a regular reviewer on the UK arts programme, Newsnight Review, on BBC Two.
Myerson's novels are usually quite dark in mood tending towards the supernatural.
Her first novel was Sleepwalking (1994), and it was to some degree autobiographical. It deals in part with the suicide of an uncaring and abusive father (Myerson's own father committed suicide). The main character Susan is heavily pregnant and begins an affair. She also feels she is haunted by her father's mother, reliving the neglect that made him abusive. The book was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys prize.
In The Touch (1996) a group of young people try to help a tramp who preaches fundamentalist Christianity, and who turns violently against them.
In Me and the Fat Man (1999) a waitress takes to earning extra money giving oral sex in a park, though not out of necessity; she gets involved with two other men, friends who have an awkward relationship and a secret between them that turns out to be related to her own birth.
Laura Blundy (2001) is set in the Victorian period, and Julie Myerson tries to bring out the freshness and modernity of the period as it would have appeared at the time.
Julie Myerson was the anonymous author of 'Living with Teenagers', a Guardian column and later book that detailed the lives of a family with three teenage children. The column was stopped after one of the children was identified and was ridiculed at school, although Myerson had previously denied being the author three times to her own children, only coming clean when it became so obvious there was no other option. After The Guardian confirmed the author of the series, it removed the articles from its website to 'protect their privacy'.
She was at the centre of a media controversy in March 2009 when details of her book The Lost Child: a True Story emerged; commentators criticised Myerson for what Minette Marrin in The Sunday Times, called her "betrayal not just of love and intimacy, but also of motherhood itself". Tim Lott called the book a "moral failure", adding "Julie has betrayed Jake for her own ambition". However, some critics took a diametrically opposing view. The Guardian's Mark Lawson, a friend of Julie Myerson, called the book noble, saying that "The elegance and thoughtfulness of this book – and its warning of a fate that may overtake many parents – should not be lost in the extra-literary frenzy.", while The Observer's Kate Kellaway called the book rash but courageous, writing that Myerson had tried to "write honestly about a nightmarish situation and a subject that never seems to get the attention it deserves." The book was published in the U.S. in August 2009.
Her son described her as "slightly insane" and the publication as "obscene", and declared his intention to change his name to "Jake Karna". The last name refers to Karna, a Hindu warrior who, in the Mahabharata, is rejected by his mother. He has since reconciled with his parents.
Myerson stated in 2009 that she may sell the film rights to The Lost Child at some point in the future, "maybe in 20 years."
- Sleepwalking (1994)
- The Touch (1996)
- Me and the Fat Man (1998)
- Laura Blundy (2000)
- Something Might Happen (2003)
- The Story of You (2006)
- Out of Breath (2007)
- Then (2011)
- The Quickening (2013)
- Home, The Story of Everyone Who Lived In Our House (2004)
- Not A Games Person (2005)
- Living with Teenagers – 3 kids, 2 parents, 1 Hell of a bumpy ride (2008)
- The Lost Child (2009)
- 1994 Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (shortlist) for Sleepwalking
- 2005 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (shortlist) for Something Might Happen
- 2005 WH Smith Literary Award (shortlist) for Something Might Happen
- Julie Myerson
- "Becky Gardiner: 'Living with the Myersons'". The Guardian (UK). 10 March 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Kate Figes: 'Chill-out zone'". The Guardian (UK). 22 March 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- ": 'The hell of living with teenagers'". The Times (London). 6 March 2008.
- "Tim Walker: 'Julie Myerson and the extraordinary case of the copycat column'". London: The Telegraph. 9 March 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Marrin, Minette (8 March 2009). "Her son was betrayed because she’s a writer first, mother second". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Tim Lott: 'Julie has betrayed Jake for her own ambition'". The Independent (UK). 8 March 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Lawson, Mark (14 March 2009). "Mother courage". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 19 April 2009.
- Kellaway, Kate (15 March 2009). "A potent dose of mother courage". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 19 April 2009.
- Cohen, Patricia (30 August 2009). "A Mother's Memoir, a Son's Anguish". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
- Dowd, Helen (22 March 2009). "My name's Jake Karna ...not Myerson – drug novel son changes name to disown writer mother". Daily Mail (UK). Retrieved 22 March 2009.
- "Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary". London: The Independent on Sunday. 5 April 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2009.