In March 2017 we launched the Celebrity Culture Club at South by Southwest (SxSW) in Austin, Texas, joining their line up of stellar speakers. 

Dr Hannah Yelin presented key research from her forthcoming book on celebrity memoir, alongside Jessica Greenwood, SVP for international advertising agency R/GA. 

Hannah’s research into the memoirs of contemporary young female celebrities deals with ghostwriting’s implications for the way we understand access, agency, authenticity and authorship.

About her research and SXSW session, Hannah said: “For celebrities or politicians – any cultural figure for whom publicity is oxygen – outsourcing one's voice to a ghostwriter at some point is inevitable. All ghostwritten text however, from a tweet to a memoir to an election-winning speech, inhabits a complex grey area between fact and fiction; truth, and the tricks of the trade.

“In our session at South by Southwest, we’ll be tearing apart the politics of ghostwriting: What ghostwritten celebrity memoirs can teach us about fame; what it means when a public figure claims to speak from the heart; and what the implications are for all of us when in subtle ways we, too, are invited to hand over control of our voices.”

Hannah joined a range of speakers from the worlds of entertainment, science and technology, politics and the creative industries including astronaut Buzz Aldrin, actor Seth Rogan, author and entrepreneur Marie Kondo, founding member and drummer of Fleetwood Mac Mick Fleetwood, fashion designer Marc Jacobs actress and producer Julia Louis-Dreyfus plus senior professionals from global organisations such as Google, Black Lives Matter, Walt Disney, Pixar and Reddit. 

Perhaps best known for having the largest music festival of its kind, South by Southwest is a combination of film, music and interactive media festivals and conferences that take place in Texas, USA every year. The event attracts hundreds of thousands of creative professionals from around the world and features showcases, screenings, exhibitions and networking opportunities.