Deborah Levy: A Living Autobiography

‘What is the point of a risk-free life?’ asked Deborah Levy in the second of her recent memoirs – The Cost of Living – which details the creation of her new life after the breakdown of a marriage at the age of 50. Now, the celebrated novelist publishes her third and final memoir, Real Estate, as she approaches her 60th year. The title reflects Levy’s decision to swap her family home for a flat in an apartment block, and her subsequent dream of an alternative kind of ‘real estate’. Having made her break into a new, riskier existence, Levy embarks on a search for her place in the world – a quest to understand what it means to be a writer. Deborah Levy has already established herself as a novelist of remarkable talent: this trio of memoirs (beginning with Things I Don’t Want to Know recalling her childhood in South Africa) complements her fiction beautifully, adding up to what she calls a ‘living autobiography’. In them, Levy reconciles herself to the idea that ‘what I most value are real humans and imagination’. In this event, filmed live at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival, she discusses her intriguing manifesto for living and writing with Jakuta Alikavazovic, author of Night as It Falls.

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