When I Grow Up

When I Grow Up

Bernice Rubens

In a rare foray outside that natural home, Booker Prize-winner Bernice Rubens penned these memoirs `while I still have a memory’. Poignantly, the highly-acclaimed author, literary bon-vivante and celebrated film-maker died shortly after completing them. She wasn’t quite expecting that but nor, as she reveals in these pages, did she expect to become a writer. It wasn’t the sort of thing that happened to girls born in Glossop Terrace in Splott, the `unmentionable and indisputable armpit of Cardiff’.

In this delightful evocation of her own life, Rubens escorts us, with a flotilla of anecdotes, away from that armpit through her wartime childhood, her first `major folly’ (studying English at University) to stints as a teacher, lady’s maid and actress before stumbling upon a career that bemused her until the end of her days. `What shall I do,’ was her constant internal refrain, `when I grow up?’

“Hugely enjoyable. Rubens delivers her life story in the warm, direct, assured style of her novels, slipping into her old style so naturally that you may forget you’re reading a memoir.” – Guardian

“Rubens was valiant, fierce and humorous … an engaging self-portrait, her memoir is a small triumph.” – Sunday Telegraph