The author on following her acclaimed debut Lowborn with a memoir about motherhood, why her next two books will be thrillers, and the power of toast to bring cheer Kerry Hudson wrote two award-winning novels before her memoir Lowborn (2019), which described her harrowing early years spent bouncing between foster families and homeless hostels, established her as a vital advocate for social equality and inclusion. Now, follow-up Newborn: Running Away, Breaking from the Past, Building a New Family finds her eyeing the future. Having spent a few months living on a houseboat, the 43-year-old now resides on terra firma in Sheffield with her husband and their three-year-old son. What made you want to write about motherhood? Let’s be frank, I’m not the first author to have a baby and then immediately need to write about it, but I had these vast, complicated feelings about myself and motherhood and how I was brought up. Newborn felt like a natural progression from Lowborn , the culmination of what happens after you “escape” – I use the word very much in inverted commas: you don’t really escape but you move forward. How do you then build a happy, healthy, functional life of love and stability around you? You became very ill in the middle of writing the book, with a rare autoimmune disease that made it hard to breathe. How did that experience shape it? It’s not being dramatic to say that I really thought I might die, and so the book became a little legacy to leave behind for my son and my husband. I wanted to crystallise this complicated, beautiful family that we created, which for me was a miraculous gift because I’d been told to expect that I would never have a loving partner, that I wouldn’t be a good mother. Told by whom? I grew up with the narrative that working-class mothers were the worst of the worst, and then I was told directly by people quite often that with my background, having […]

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