The inevitable difficulties of life writing: unexpected and ignored boundaries

Karin Amatmoekrim

Karin Amatmoekrim has published several books of life writing: sometimes in the form of a fictionalized historical novel, sometimes as a memoir. Currently she’s working on a PhD research in the form of a biography about Surinamese-Dutch writer Anil Ramdas.

In writing about someone’s life, the writer inevitably involves other people. Family, friends and loved ones who will not always recognize the person they knew in the biographical work. What boundaries are to be expected when writing about someones life? Which ones should be ignored - and why? And what difficulties came completely unexpected? In an informal tea talk Amatmoekrim will exchange ideas and experiences about the difficulties of writing about the lives of others, and why the writer should nevertheless go exactly where the book compels her/him.

This talk will be part of the Oxford Centre for Life Writing Tea talk series.


TORCH Global South Visiting Professors and Fellows


International Engagement