Deborah Frances-White to write Six Conversations We're Scared To Have

Wednesday 10th March 2021, 9:10am by Jay Richardson

  • Deborah Frances-White is working on a follow-up to her bestseller The Guilty Feminist
  • Due to be published in March 2022, it focuses on discussing some of the biggest challenges in feminism
  • The comedian says: "This is a dialogue I've been having with those I trust in private for a long time"
Deborah Frances-White.

Deborah Frances-White is writing a follow-up book to her bestseller The Guilty Feminist.

In Six Conversations We're Scared To Have, the comedian faces up to some of the biggest challenges in feminism - how to have difficult conversations well, how to disagree well, how to build bridges, and how to change minds, including our own.

The "brave and brilliantly funny" book will be published by Virago Books on March 3rd next year.

Frances-White, who has guest edited the current International Women's Day issue of the magazine Stylist, said that Six Conversations "is a book I simply have to write. This is a dialogue I've been having with those I trust in private for a long time. This is a conversation I need to be brave enough to have in public. I am part of a movement that has called Time's Up on top-down power at the expense of those who have been used and discarded. I want to live in a world where people in marginalised groups have a real voice that enacts fast change."

The stand-up's family became Jehovah's Witnesses when she was a teenager in Australia, a topic that became the focus of her 2012 Edinburgh Fringe show Cult Following and two episodes of her Radio 4 show Deborah Frances-White Rolls The Dice.

She explains: "I also speak as someone whose formative years were spent in a high control group, where people rarely said what they meant. We said what we needed to, to avoid punishment and shunning which meant our words often didn't match our thoughts and actions. I know what that fosters and where it ends.

"I feel compelled to look at the way our society is changing and look at how we can mature together and build better, stronger, more usable bridges more quickly to make the world a genuinely better place for those who desperately need it to be. And isn't that all of us right now?"

Six Conversations is Frances-White's fourth book, following 2015's Off The Mic, co-written with Marsha Shandur; 2017's The Improv Handbook, which she co-wrote with her husband, Tom Salinsky; and 2018's The Guilty Feminist, which was also published by Virago, spinning-off from her hugely popular podcast of the same name.

The comic, who wrote the film Say My Name in 2019 has spoken of her frustration at failing to get a television series commissioned, and has been working on another book about the gatekeepers and taste formers of comedy.

In On The Joke "is about the power of being in on the joke and who makes the joke and who in our society says what jokes are televised, what jokes are broadcast, what jokes are funny, who shapes our sense of humour" she told Fi Glover and Jane Garvey on their Radio 4 show Fortunately... in October. "Who are the critics that tell us what's funny and what's not?

"Nearly all of watching someone be super-confident in comedy is the power structure around them endorsing and validating them and making them feel like a genius and that going on in a loop in a loop in a loop in a loop. Or, the person who gets squeezed out. You've got to have something, you've got to bring something to the table. But most people are ... if they want to go into comedy, there's a reason."


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Deborah Frances-White - Six Conversations We're Scared To Have - From The Guilty Feminist

Deborah Frances-White - Six Conversations We're Scared To Have - From The Guilty Feminist

Six Conversations We're Scared To Have - From The Guilty Feminist will face up to one of the biggest challenges in feminism right now - how we can have difficult conversations well, how we can disagree well, how we can build bridges and change minds, including our own.

In Deborah's own words, "Six Conversations... is a book I simply have to write. This is a dialogue I've been having with those I trust in private for a long time. This is a conversation I need to be brave enough to have in public. I am part of a movement that has called Time's Up on top-down power at the expense of those who have been used and discarded. I want to live in a world where people in marginalised groups have a real voice that enacts fast change. I also speak as someone whose formative years were spent in a high control group, where people rarely said what they meant. We said what we needed to, to avoid punishment and shunning which meant our words often didn't match our thoughts and actions. I know what that fosters and where it ends. I feel compelled to look at the way our society is changing and look at how we can mature together and build better, stronger, more usable bridges more quickly to make the world a genuinely better place for those who desperately need it to be. And isn't that all of us right now?"

First published: Thursday 3rd March 2022

  • Publisher: Virago
  • Pages: 352
  • Catalogue: 9780349015811

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