10 QUESTIONS | Pamela Power, author of My Year of Not Getting Sh*tfaced

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My Year of Not Getting Sh*tfaced by Pamela Power.
My Year of Not Getting Sh*tfaced by Pamela Power.

BOOK: My Year of Not Getting Sh*tfaced by Pamela Power.

After an exceptionally wild Mother’s Day where she danced like there was no tomorrow, picked a fight with a stranger and collided with the floor, Johannesburg scriptwriter and author Pamela Power is forced to take a hard look at her drinking habits. She realises she might be a serial binge drinker and needs to take back control.

In this honest yet humorous account of her year of not getting shitfaced, Pamela examines her long, complicated relationship with alcohol.

Power is a TV scriptwriter and editor who has worked on Top Billing, Generations and Muvhango and the author or co-author of several works of fiction, including Ms Conception, Things Unseen and Chasing Marian (with Amy Heydenrych, Qarnita Loxton and Gail Schimmel). My Year of Not Getting Sh*tfaced is published by Jonathan Ball.

1. Describe your book in no more than three sentences. 

A #sobercurious memoir written in journal form that covers a year in my life, a year in which I examine my relationship with alcohol while living through a pandemic and working on five different projects. It’s a bit funny and a bit sad.

2. Did your book require research? 

Yes. I read tons of quitlit and blogposts while I was deciding whether to go completely dry or try moderation. But the books were so interesting that it never felt like research.

3. When in your life did you begin writing? 

At university. I studied drama at what was then the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg. There was no money to spend on the rights to plays so we were encouraged to write our own. We also performed a lot of Brecht. A. Lot.

4. How long did it take you to write this book, from conception to completion?

I drew on my journal entries which spanned a year, and then the editing process took around six months.

5. Where is your preferred place to write?

I used to work in a little back room on a vast, old, battered desk that my husband got when he worked for the Mail & Guardian. Then my son left home last year and I commandeered his room, which has a gorgeous view and where I’m usually joined by two out of three of my cats.  

Pamela Power
Author Pamela Power. (Photo: Supplied)

6. Are you a morning writer, an afternoon writer or an evening writer? 

Morning or afternoon, if I write at night, I produce pure crapola.

7. Name two or three authors whose work has inspired you, and your favourite books of theirs. 

In terms of memoir writing, I very much enjoyed Richard E. Grant’s latest memoir A Pocketful of Happiness. I also loved his earlier memoirs With Nails: The Film Diaries of Richard E Grant and The Wah Wah Diaries: The Making of A Film. I think my style is influenced by both Nora Ephron and Helen Fielding, particularly I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing by Ephron and Cause Celeb and Bridget Jones’s Diary by Fielding.

8. Which writer, living or dead, would you most like to have a conversation with, and why? 

Jane Austen. I want to know the secret to her utterly brilliant comic dialogue, if she really did have a thing with Tom Lefroy and I want to show her the success she achieved after her death. We would watch the BBC TV series of Pride & Prejudice together and then the movie and see which version she preferred (I prefer the BBC version). 

9. Do you have a favourite fictional character?

That’s like asking which is my favourite child. I refuse to answer this question.

10. What are you reading at the moment, and what are your thoughts on it?

I just finished The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything by Kara Gnodde, which I absolutely loved. It’s a quirky story about the sister of a mathematician who has devoted her life to her brother and then falls in love. But is her lover who he says he is? Her brother doesn’t think so. Read it if you want to know more. 

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