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key influences and themes

"I suppose the lives of women, the patterns of women's lives … but sometimes you notice that whole areas of female experience are missed out and its just fun then to think "ooh that's fresh, that's good, I can do that ... "I think before you have children in our society you don't really see them very much, it's perfectly possible to get to the age of 30 and never to have held a baby. And then when you get to the sort of age when maybe you have a child or the first one of your friends does, it's all completely new, it's absolutely foreign country. And when I had my first baby it was such fresh material, I thought I can't let this go to waste - it was so funny lots of it."
Helen Simpson

She says she doesn't like to write about her own life - 'autobiographical writing' - because she worries it would affect her friends and family. But her work always includes themes that are important to her and her contemporaries. Themes like the biological clock or having children...

"A lot of women, the more education they get, the more they think 'I'll wait a little while. I want first of all to make sure I get a job and perhaps I can find somewhere decent to live before I have a baby' and they're waiting for the right time. But perhaps the right time never comes. But certainly there's not the feeling that babies just come unbidden, that you have them in your late teens or early twenties. You have more choice now and people tend to be putting it off - But the trouble is that then the biological clock, when you're in your early-mid 30s you think maybe if I wait too long maybe I won't be able to have babies - and that's the biological clock saying tick tock, come on, are you going to have them or aren't you..."
Helen Simpson

life events
key influences and themes
Simpson's work
the next chapter
being a woman writer
  Women Writers
  Ama Ata Aidoo
  Meena Alexander
  Maya Angelou
  Shashi Deshpande
  Margaret Drabble
  Buchi Emecheta
  Jamaica Kincaid
  Doris Lessing
  Bharati Mukherjee
  Michele Roberts

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