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"This book kept me alive."

Jenni Fagan on writing a memoir of her childhood in foster care. "A lot of kids in care homes are told they are less than everyone else. They are made unsafe by that story alone. Twenty years ago I began writing this memoir as a suicide note. I was trying to sum up my life in one small letter.

Is that it?

It said so little.

It was so sad to think that note might be all I had to show for my life, so I decided that before I went, I would look at my entire life just once – a story that felt so much bigger than me.

I borrowed a typewriter from a neighbor. I typed for 14 hours a day until I had a full manuscript. After I had written The End, I locked it in a flight case and vowed never to look at it again or discuss its contents with anyone.

Jenni Fagan is an award-winning novelist, poet, screenwriter and artist - she has published four fiction novels and five poetry collections, and she is about to release her memoir about being raised in state care, called Ootlin.

My book, Redeemed, A Memoir of a Stolen Childhood by Penny Lane will be published June 25, 2024.

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