Gina Miller writes her own narrative
- Katie Goh
- 6 September 2018
The woman who took the British Government to court over Article 50 discuss her new memoir, Rise
If you think you vaguely recognise Gina Miller, it's probably because you do. She's the woman who took the British government to the Supreme Court over Article 50, the law that would invoke the UK to leave the EU and won. In 2017, she was named Britain's most influential black person. She's also a successful businesswoman, a philanthropist, fundraiser, mother to three, and now author. Frankly, it's a surprise she has time to talk to us about her new memoir, Rise: Life Lessons in Speaking Out, Standing Tall and Leading the Way.
First thing's first: why a book? 'I was approached by a number of publishers to write a book about the court case or Brexit or both,' Miller explains briskly despite the early hour. "I had never thought about writing a book but thought I could use the opportunity to go back and write about how I've come to be where I am and maybe dispel a few things. One, to dispel what I call the Daily Mail avatar built up of me. And second and more importantly, to try and deal with the fragility that so many people seem to be feeling at the moment and talk to them about dealing with failure which is so much a part of our lives. To use the lens of my life if you like, to talk in an honest way about what I've learned, what's worked, and what hasn't worked to make people feel better.'
The book is what Miller calls a 'thematic memoir.' She explains: 'Rise picks at parts of my life that speak to a particular theme. It's using what's happened to me, what I've learned through it, what it's taught me, and picking out some themes and using particular parts of my life to illustrate that. It's storytelling.'
Two stand-out themes from the memoir are the sexist and racist abuse Miller received when she brought the case against Article 50 to the Supreme Court and the MeToo movement. On both of these topics, Miller emphasises that Rise is a response to maintaining control of her own narrative. 'If I'm a person who fights battles on behalf of other people, then I have to change the proximity that people have from their heads and hearts and my proximity to them needs to be an honest one and the right-wing press have denied me that. [Rise] was a way of setting the record straight but also it allowed me to have the voice I intend to keep on having.'
Rise has offered a nuanced insight into Miller's motivations that go beyond newspaper headlines. 'I have had people who have disagreed with my ideology and disagree with me on Brexit, send me incredibly kind messages saying that whatever we might disagree on, the abuse I've received is unacceptable. I'm delighted with that. To heal or mend in that way is something I hope this book will do with anybody. It makes me hopeful.'
Miller is undoubtedly an optimist and forward-thinking. She confesses that she rarely pauses to reflect, something Rise forced her to do. 'I'm not really a person who looks back,' she says, laughing. 'I tend to pick myself up and get on. It was an emotional journey for me to look back because I've never done it before. It actually put a perspective on my life and gave me a sense that I can go forward and achieve the things I want to achieve and made me realise that maybe I'm more resilient than even I thought I was.'