Journalist as author: Hadley Freeman – House of Glass
By Vanessa McGreevy
18 Mar 2020
During this difficult time ResponseSource continues to support journalists and the media, including shining a light on the work of journalists and writers. Guardian columnist and features writer Hadley Freeman is the author of a number of books based on her specialisms, fashion and entertainment. This month’s launch of House of Glass marks a departure in to writing about her own family history, and she agreed to tell us a bit about the story and research behind it.
Can you introduce
your book in a couple of sentences?
It’s the true story
of my grandmother and her three brothers, who were in Paris in the run-up to
the Second World War, and what happened to them over the course of the 20th
Could you tell us
about how you came to write House of Glass?
I’d always known
there was a story behind my grandmother’s life, but had no idea how to find it
out. After she died, I was looking through her closet, thinking maybe I could
write about her relationship with fashion. In the back, I found a shoebox
filled with letters and photos from the 1920s to the 1980s, photographs from
what was clearly a concentration camp, prison plates, denunciation letters and
a drawing by Picasso. For the next two decades, I set out to find the truth
behind these keepsakes.
Are you working
on another book, or do you have other projects under way?
Oh God, not yet. To
be honest, to have this book come out during the awful pandemic puts a lot of
things into perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of the book and
thrilled that it’s been received so well. It is, of course, a little
frustrating that all the promotion events for it have had to be cancelled,
which inevitably has a knock-on effect on sales, and so I’m doing what I can to
keep the book in the public eye by tweeting about it. But now that I’m working
from home and the schools will surely close soon, my focus is inevitably going
to be on my three kids, who are under the age of five, keeping in touch with my
parents who are in self-isolation and just keeping the boat afloat, really.
Can you offer any
advice to other journalists thinking about writing a book about their family
Don’t! It will take
over your life!
What books are
you reading right now, or about to pick up?
I’m on an Anne Tyler
binge. You can never read too much Anne Tyler
Are there any
other examples of your everyday journalism that you’re especially proud of or
would just like to share?