Julie Mellor


This essay will be presented in two parts. The first part contains the opening chapter of my novel, Cork Dolls. This novel, as yet unpublished, has been written as part of a practice-based PhD looking at contemporary women’s fiction. Cork Dolls is set in Sicily and focuses on the psychological tensions between Rachel, an English au pair, and Susan, a Filipino housekeeper. Both women are employed by the wealthy Bruni family. As background to the first chapter, it is helpful to know that Rachel has recently had an abortion, while Susan left her daughter, Reetha, in the Philippines some years ago in order to earn money in Sicily.

The second section of the essay is an enquiry into the writing process. I draw on my own work, and that of other women writers, to show how the process involves both conscious and unconscious decisions. Using the theories of C. G. Jung to examine the unconscious side of the process, I will argue that writing can be seen as part of the individuation process. Individuation is the means by which the unconscious can be integrated into consciousness, resulting in greater self-knowledge. I will suggest that this is particularly important to women, whose knowledge of themselves tends to be influenced by patriarchal definitions of the feminine.

Author Biography

Julie Mellor gained her first degree from the University of Huddersfield in 1996, and her PhD from Sheffield Hallam University in 2003. Her short stories have appeared in the London Magazine and The Nerve (Virago). She lives in Penistone, near Sheffield, and is currently busy pursuing a PGCE in English and contemplating her next novel, which will be loosely informed by Jungian theory.