Literary Reputations

Joanna Moorhead on Leonora Carrington

  • 10
  • Oct




Black and white image of Leonora Carrington, taken from Joanna Moorhead's book cover

It was through a chance comment at a party that Joanna Moorhead realised that her father’s black sheep cousin, Prim, was one of the leading lights of surrealism. The world knew her as Leonora Carrington: the extraordinary writer, artist and visionary who lived life on her own terms. Intrigued, Joanna set off for Mexico City, where the reclusive Leonora still lived, and became caught up in her story. And what a story… As a 20-year-old London debutante she escaped to war-torn France with her lover, Max Ernst; helped birth a succession of artistic movements; invented performance art; wrote ground breaking fiction; pioneered a new kind of painting, and made a life in Mexico.

In her book The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington, Joanna tells of the late flowering kinship that grew between the two women, shares Leonora’s fascinating stories, and recounts her travels across Britain and Europe chasing the loose ends of Leonora’s tale. Born in Lancashire, Joanna is a journalist who writes for the Guardian. She will be in conversation with MLF’s Kate Feld.