Just You and the Page: Encounters with Twelve Writers

Sue Gee
Publication Date: 
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
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“When I write, I want to smash through something.”

“Writing is something without which you die.”

“New technologies have fundamentally changed what it means to be a writer.”

Just You and the Page opens in 1971, with the dramatist Michael Wall hammering out his plays on a portable typewriter. It concludes in 2020, when the novelist and academic Josie Barnard is teaching students to compose novels on Instagram. Between them are Booker prize winners; a poet whose life was changed by a profound religious conversion; a translator for whom Pushkin has meant everything; a distinguished environmental journalist; a famous diarist; a nature writer who restored a wood, and a political activist who fled her country and is writing now in exile. 

Sue Gee has interviewed twelve distinctively different writers, all old friends, looking at what has shaped them: at struggle, inspiration and dedication to their art.  Part memoir, part literary biography, published in extraordinary times, Just You and the Page is above all about resilience.

“I loved this wonderful and admirable book. Sue Gee has written an important celebration of  friendship, solitude, writing and reading. Each portrait of her twelve writer-friends is compelling and memorable. A book to savour.” – Peter J. Conradi



Dramatist: Michael Wall
Novelists: Anna Burns, Penelope Lively, Charles Palliser, Darragh Martin
Poet: Hilary Davies
Nature writer: Ruth Pavey
Writer in exile: Afra
Environmental journalist: Marek Mayer
Diarist: Roy Strong
Translator: Antony Wood
Multimodal writer: Josie Barnard 


You can now rewatch the online launch of Just You and the Page on our Youtube channel here: 



Review by Alex Payne, Buzz Magazine

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Writing, by its nature, is often a solitary and secluded task, with long hours spent trying to extract and communicate one’s own ideas, and is consequently one that can appear shrouded. Sue Gee’s Just You And The Page, an even dozen of literary-biography essays on writers that she’s interacted with throughout her life, doesn’t so much offer a window into the writing profession as blow a hole into its side, thus allowing readers to gawk at the specimens. 

The collection presents detailed portraits of a variety of writers, from novelists and journalists to poets and translators. Gee’s limpid and unflinching writing voice, and her thorough approach to detailing her subjects, makes the collection accessible even to those with little-to-no prior knowledge of the writers covered, and the variety on offer will be sure to offer something of interest to even the most weathered writer.

A handful of Gee’s essays do lean heavily into hagiography, but it’s a somewhat inevitable pitfall of a format based on interviewing one’s friends, and one worth accepting in return for the sheer depth and insight offered.

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