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The Conversations with... series approaches figures from the past in a new way: by inviting us to listen to them. The interview format is used, as each participant explains themselves, and we sit gripped, because although the questions are imagined, their words are not. These are their own words, thoughts and feelings taken from their writings, and it’s such authenticity of voice that makes this a unique experience.

We’re familiar with biographies which tell us about someone, but here we meet the people for ourselves, reflect on their words and draw our own conclusions. The project might be subtitled, ‘In the psychiatrist’s chair’, as each reveals, knowingly or unknowingly, what it’s like to live inside their skin, with their faultlines quite as apparent as their genius.

On completing the interviews, Simon Parke’s comment was this: ‘I feel I know them better than I know myself.’

 
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“Children and the Light” by Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick – ALF Rose had this experience many years ago when he was ill with pneumonia as a young child of four or five. Suddenly I was out of my body and floating near the top of the window in my bedroom. I could see myself in bed and my mother kneeling at the side of the bed. She was crying and looked very distressed. I gazed at this scene for a little while and remember that I didn't feel any emotion at all and was completely indifferent to what I saw. Without any warning at all I was travelling very swiftly through a dense forest. Read here
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