In a new podcast series, novelist and critic Gary Raymond talks to some of his favourite writers about their relationship with the art of storytelling. In episode 1, playwright, screenwriter, and, now, memoirist, Abi Morgan talks about the process of turning personal trauma into a book, how it almost became a stage play, and the workings of taking an idea and developing into hit television.
You can get The Storyteller Podcast in all the usual places you get your podcasts. You can download if you click here, and subscribe for all future episodes, including conversations with Sarah Waters, Jon McGregor, Trezza Azzopardi and others.
The Storyteller Podcast is part of the extended universe of Gary Raymond’s JellyBread serial, of which you can find out more here.
Abi Morgan was born in Cardiff, Wales, in 1968 to theatre professional parents – and after a time of wanting to be an actor, decided to become a writer and after studying drama and literature at Essex Uni went to the Central School of Speech and Drama to take a postgraduate writing course. her first professional stage credit was in 1998 with Skinned at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton. She has written plays for the Royal Exchange Studio Theatre Manchester, the Royal Lyceum Theatre, the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, the National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Court, London. Her 2001 play Tender commissioned by Birmingham Rep Theatre and co-produced with the Hampstead Theatre gained her a nomination as “most promising playwright” at the 2002 Laurence Olivier Theatre Awards.
But she has become best known for her work in television and film where her credits include Sex Traffic, The Hour, The Split, Brick Lane, The Iron Lady and Suffragette. Her one and only book to date, which we talk about at length in our conversation, is This Is Not A Pity Memoir, the story of her struggles with her husband’s battle with encephalitis. It’s a marvellously frank book, and it got rave reviews when we covered it on my radio programme The Review Show for BBC Radio Wales back in June of this year. It’s a great conversation, and fascinating for me to get the perspective of someone used to writing for actors and directors, and how different – or not – the art of storytelling can be when you intention is to have it lifted from the page by other people rather than having it slid under the nose of a reader.
Here are links to some of the works and writers referenced in this episode.
Priest by Jimmy McGovern