Michael Rosen, co-curator of the Nunnery Gallery’s current exhibition The Working Artist: The East London Group, will read from his recently published memoirs So They Call You Pisher! With much of the book exploring his parents’ early lives in east London, many of the paintings serve as fitting backdrops to the stories Rosen heard growing up.
In this hilarious, moving memoir, much-loved children’s poet and political campaigner Rosen recalls the first twenty-three years of his life. He was born in the North London suburbs, and his parents, Harold and Connie, both teachers, first met as teenage Communists in the Jewish East End of the 1930s. The family home was filled with stories of relatives in London, the United States and France and of those who had disappeared in Europe.
Different from other children, Rosen and his brother, Brian, grew up dreaming of a socialist revolution. Party meetings were held in the front room. Summers were for communist camping holidays. But it all changed after a trip to East Germany when, in 1957, his parents decided to leave ‘the Party’.
From that point, Michael followed his own journey of radical self-discovery: running away to Aldermaston to march against the bomb; writing and performing in experimental political theatre at Oxford; getting arrested during the 1968 movements. The book ends with a letter to his father, and the revelation of a heartbreaking family secret.
Rosen will sign copies following the reading, with the book available in the Nunnery Gallery shop.
More on the exhibition