Sara Maitland





Sara Maitland


Born
in London, The United Kingdom
February 27, 1950

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Sara Maitland is a British writer and academic. An accomplished novelist, she is also known for her short stories. Her work has a magic realist tendency. Maitland is regarded as one of those at the vanguard of the 1970s feminist movement, and is often described as a feminist writer. She is a Roman Catholic, and religion is another theme in much of her work.

Average rating: 3.63 · 3,285 ratings · 450 reviews · 64 distinct worksSimilar authors
How to Be Alone

3.35 avg rating — 1,035 ratings — published 2014 — 10 editions
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A Book Of Silence

3.78 avg rating — 760 ratings — published 2008 — 13 editions
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Gossip from the Forest

3.61 avg rating — 587 ratings — published 2012 — 8 editions
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Three Times Table

3.77 avg rating — 56 ratings — published 1990 — 5 editions
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Moss Witch and Other Stories

3.50 avg rating — 54 ratings — published 2013 — 2 editions
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On Becoming a Fairy Godmother

3.48 avg rating — 40 ratings — published 2003
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Far North and Other Dark Tales

3.54 avg rating — 28 ratings — published 2008
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Ancestral Truths

3.53 avg rating — 36 ratings — published 1993 — 5 editions
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Angel Maker: Short Stories ...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 22 ratings — published 1996 — 5 editions
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The Writer's Way

3.65 avg rating — 40 ratings — published 2005 — 3 editions
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“You are one of those courageous people who want to dare to live; and to do so believe you have to explore the depths of yourself, undistracted and unprotected by social conventions and norms.”
Sara Maitland, How to Be Alone

“The whole tradition of [oral] story telling is endangered by modern technology. Although telling stories is a very fundamental human attribute, to the extent that psychiatry now often treats 'narrative loss' -- the inability to construct a story of one's own life -- as a loss of identity or 'personhood,' it is not natural but an art form -- you have to learn to tell stories. The well-meaning mother is constantly frustrated by the inability of her child to answer questions like 'What did you do today?' (to which the answer is usually a muttered 'nothing' -- but the 'nothing' is cover for 'I don't know how to tell a good story about it, how to impose a story shape on the events'). To tell stories, you have to hear stories and you have to have an audience to hear the stories you tell. Oral story telling is economically unproductive -- there is no marketable product; it is out with the laws of patents and copyright; it cannot easily be commodified; it is a skill without monetary value. And above all, it is an activity requiring leisure -- the oral tradition stands squarely against a modern work ethic....Traditional fairy stories, like all oral traditions, need the sort of time that isn't money.

"The deep connect between the forests and the core stories has been lost; fairy stories and forests have been moved into different categories and, isolated, both are at risk of disappearing, misunderstood and culturally undervalued, 'useless' in the sense of 'financially unprofitable.”
Sara Maitland, Gossip from the Forest

“Respect but do not fear your own fear. Do not let it come between you and something that might be deeply enjoyable. Remember it is quite normal to be a bit frightened of being alone. Most of us grew up in a social environment that sent out the explicit message that solitude was bad for you: it was bad for your health (especially your mental health) and bad for your 'character' too. Too much of it and you would promptly become weird, psychotic, self-obsessed, very possibly a sexual predator and rather literally a wanker. Mental (and even physical) well-being, along with virtue, depends, in this model, on being a good mixer, a team-player, and having high self-esteem, plus regular, uninhibited, simultaneous orgasms with one partner (at a time).
Actually, of course, it is never this straightforward because at the same time as pursuing this 'extrovert ideal', society gives out an opposite - though more subterranean - message. Most people would still rather be described as sensitive, spiritual, reflective, having rich inner lives and being good listeners, than the more extroverted opposites. I think we still admire the life of the intellectual over that of the salesman; of the composer over the performer (which is why pop stars constantly stress that they write their own songs); of the craftsman over the politician; of the solo adventurer over the package tourist. People continue to believe, in the fact of so much evidence - films, for example - that Great Art can only be produced by solitary geniuses. But the kind of unexamined but mixed messages that society offers us in relation to being alone add to the confusion; and confusion strengthens fear.”
Sara Maitland, How to Be Alone



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