26.05.2010 - Julia Blackburn

BorderKitchen welcomes British author Julia Blackburn, to present her autobiography The Three of Us, which was recently translated into Dutch.

With a poet for a father and a painter for a mother, Julia’s bohemian childhood had all the ingredients a scandalous novel would comprise of: neglect, violence, drugs, drink, suicide and sexual shenanigans. Yet, this is no fiction, and despite the shocking picture Blackburn paints of her dysfunctional upbringing, the ultimate message of her deeply frank autobiography is formed through understanding and forgiveness.

Her father Thomas Blackburn, despite enjoying success as a poet, was a fierce alcoholic and addict of sodium amytal, a dangerous combination that lead to violent outbursts towards his wife. Blackburn’s mother, the painter Rosalie de Meric, was fun and outrageous, and a self-confessed sex addict, resentful and overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood. Blackburn reveals “Right from the start, I was her sister, confidante and, eventually, her sexual rival.”

Blackburn is the author of several works of nonfiction, including the biographies of Napoleon (The Emperor’s Last Island) and Billie Holiday (With Billie), and of two novels, The Book of Color and The Leper’s Companions, both of which were short-listed for the Orange Prize. Her most recent book, Old Man Goya, was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award.