Harriet Shawcross is an award-winning filmmaker and journalist. She obtained an MA in Creative Non-Fiction from the University of East Anglia, and was shortlisted for the Manchester Fiction Prize. Unspeakable is her first book.
A personal study of silence . . . As a teenager, Harriet Shawcross stopped speaking for a year. Her attempt to make sense of that experience investigates the essence of language itself . . . Part memoir, part investigative journalism, Unspeakable is a deeply felt attempt at making sense of this period in her life, and of how others manage when words fail them . . . [A] compassionate book * * Guardian * * Extremely affecting . . . Shawcross writes eloquently . . . Caring, inquisitive -- Stuart Kelly * * Scotsman * * Elegant . . . Shawcross can certainly write * * Observer * * Shawcross has set herself the challenge of exploring these wordless moments in order to examine how silence moulds our personalities and shapes our lives . . . A compelling idea . . . well-told and engaging * * Mail on Sunday * * There is a lot of fascinating material here, from meeting an artist who turned speechlessness into a six-month project . . . to the story of George Oppen, the objectivist poet who ceased writing amid the McCarthyist churn of postwar America * * Sunday Times * * The things we find 'unspeakable' are the subject of Harriet Shawcross's fascinating book * * Daily Mail * * What a fascinating subject to have been chosen by a journalist . . . The book as it stands is a pleasure to read, choosing to take the reader towards an examination of the power, both positive and perilous, of silence * * Evening Gazette * * Explores what makes us silent, from the aftermath of natural disaster to the taboo of coming out. A heady mix of memoir, history, literary criticism and journalism * * Sunday Post * * Shawcross looks at the ways in which breaking a silence can be healing . . . Unspeakable is engaging and informative . . . Thought-provoking * * Saturday Paper * *