Jenny Diski, 1947-2016


Doris Lessing and Jenny Diski, King’s Cross, London, 1963

Jenny Diski sadly passed away in April. Beginning in 2012, Berfrois published the English translations of her essays for the Swedish newspaper, Göteborgs-Posten. She was a piercingly intelligent, honest and funny writer. It was a real pleasure to have published and corresponded with her.

When a famous writer dies, we often post a representative quote from their work on social media. Particular care was taken in this instance.

Below are Jenny’s thoughts on being quoted. It’s quintessential Jenny. Wonderfully quintessential Jenny.

An Apology to Twitter and blog readers.

Now, I keep seeing it quoted on Twitter and in blogs, in various languages, as if it belonged in the Big Book of Deathless Truths. Everything passes, but that sentence doesn’t entirely go away. I am deeply embarrassed for myself whenever I see it. While I’m pretty sure I thought about it as I wrote it in, as I say, context, it’s a cloud of airy nothing put out there on its own. Like a scrap of a torn shirt carefully washed and hung out to dry, to be clean and useless. I hate homilies.

My apologies to those who come across it. If this seems ungrateful to appreciative readers, my guess is that most quoters haven’t read the book it came from, and I’m not a grateful person. Thank you.