Caitlin Moran

She’s brilliant and British

Meet Caitlin Moran By Lauren Edwards

I first really discovered the incomparable Caitlin Moran at a Mumsnet Blogfest in 2012. I was there as a blogger, looking for ways in which to maximise my website. The setting was within Millbank Tower and it was filled to the brim with female bloggers, all of us hoping that our catchy blogger names (anounceofme.com was mine) would land us an abundance of offers from advertisers. It was a long and an exhausting day, moving from room to room and from talk to talk with an air hostess smile firmly in place. The evening concluded with all of us crowding into the main auditorium for our keynote speaker; author, journalist, columnist and screenwriter Caitlin Moran.

I was enthralled, entertained and now wanted Caitlin Moran to become my life coach and my new best friend. She was a breath of fresh air after a day filled with niceties. She talked feminism and politics in her animated and fast-paced manner, comparing our then PM David Cameron to a gammon robot, ‘a C-3PO made of ham’. When asked for tips on how to write a book, her sage advice was to pop a cheeky whisky in your cuppa and to not over describe.

I brought the Observer staff a suitcase of vomit, and they gave me a job.

Caitlin Moran is the eldest of eight siblings, all home educated and raised in Wolverhampton. She describes her childhood as ‘akin to The Hunger Games’ which she dramatised into Channel 4’s ‘Raised by Wolves’. At the age of 15, she won The Observer’s Young Reporter of the Year award and then at 16 was offered a job as a journalist at Melody Maker.  She has been an award-winning columnist and critic for the Times since 1992 and has written eight books.

Forget ‘getting the guy’ and think honest portrayals of masturbation and periods, and a heroine who (wait for it) doesn’t need saving.

With yet another string to her bow, Caitlin Moran is branching out into the movie making business with a film adaptation of her semi-autobiographical novel, How To Build A Girl. Centred around aspiring music journalist Johanna Morrigan from Wolverhampton, this coming of age drama is set in the 90s, in the simpler times before teenagers lived their lives out on social media. The creative team involved were all female, a conscious decision, which she described as a ‘great big womb fest’ with three female producers and a female director whom she credited as being protective and extraordinary throughout the process. You can catch How To Build A Girl on Amazon Prime and I for one plan to watch it with my teenage daughter and ensure that she has a pen and paper to hand.

Always remember that, nine times out of ten, you probably aren’t having a full-on nervous breakdown – you just need a cup of tea and a biscuit.

For me, Caitlin Moran has the unique ability to make you belly laugh and then think profoundly from the one paragraph she has written. She’s kind of like a nagging friend telling you to stop overthinking a situation – an affectionate slap in the face. In those moments when life feels a bit overwhelming and you’re not sure how to keep swimming to the surface, I can tap into one of Caitlin’s newspaper columns or pick up one of her books (of which I own many) and allow her to put my thoughts into perspective with her brazen take on life. She is one of the reasons I want to write. A modern day writer I can aspire to be.

Caitlin Moran on Feminism
“Feminism isn’t a science. It’s just an idea; a completely freelance, voluntary, crowd-sourced and brilliant idea, in which women and, yes, sometimes men, go about identifying, then trying to solve the problems of girls and women. And, one of the things I feel we sometimes forget, celebrating their brilliance. Although it might occasionally feel like it, being a woman isn’t just a set of difficult questions. The female population of the Earth is also a set of answers. It’s a billion seeds of potential. It is a field of blossom, just waiting.

Caitlin Moran on middle age
“What I didn’t realise is that, in middle age, the reason women don’t worry about “who they are” any more is because they don’t have time. Middle age is not your elegant fun time. A middle-aged woman’s problems, she soon learns, are other people’s problems, and they are far harder than your own. By the age of 40, chances are, you will have become a fifth emergency service: friends’ marriages are imploding; your parents are becoming ill, or dying; your children’s teenage years are when they truly need you to be around as much as possible. You have a marriage to keep alive, two careers in the household to maintain, a pile of stuff at the bottom of the stairs that no one else seems to realise NEEDS TO BE TAKEN UPSTAIRS, and the slow realisation that your life really isn’t turning out how you’d always presumed it would.”

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