Posted on March 11, 2020 at 1:30 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

My Dark Vanessa, which was released yesterday, inspired some soul-searching in at least one counterpart of its writer, Kate Elizabeth Russell.

Author Layla AlAmmar wasn’t ruminating on the novel’s themes, though, but rather how Russell felt publicly pressured to reveal that she drew upon similar experiences in creating the novel.

My Dark Vanessa is, specifically, about a protagonist who has an affair with a teacher during her teen years and who, decades later, is forced to confront and come to terms with that past when the teacher is caught in a similar situation.

Before its release, another writer complained that its plot recalled her own memoir — one that mainstream publishing ignored — resulting in Russell’s issuance of a statement that defended the work’s originality.

AlAmmar explains why this pressure to reveal details about a novelist’s private life makes her uncomfortable and what actual issues it reveals in the Guardian.

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Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: The Guardian

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