At a time when overall divorce rates are falling, the only group that has seen a rise is women aged 55 to 59. In these days of economic independence, women are not just earning more, they are doing more and are less dependent on their spouses at every level, which can lead many to question the value of their marriage and their partner.

What is really at the root of this dissatisfaction? Is it that they have spent decades building carefully constructed identities, the perfect career, husband, children, only to find that they are either unachievable or dissatisfying? Or is it that at this new stage of financial and emotional independence, women finally have the confidence to live life on their own terms rather than those set by society or family?

This event will explore how economic independence, longer life and increasing emotional and sexual confidence are helping to shape the relationships of women as they age. Our panel includes writers Louise Doughty, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Alys Fowler, who come armed with their own experiences of love, life and finding satisfaction.

About The Speakers

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a journalist, broadcaster and author. This year she was named columnist of the year at the National Press Awards. She has written over a dozen books, including The Settler’s Cookbook and Exotic England. She is Professor of Journalism at Middlesex University.

Louise Doughty

Louise Doughty is the author of eight novels, the most recent being Black Water. Her previous book was Apple Tree Yard, adapted for BBC One as a four-part series.  Her sixth novel, Whatever You Love, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Photo by Yves Salmon

Alys Fowler

Alys Fowler is an award-winning journalist and passionate gardener. She writes regularly for newspapers and magazines and has a weekly column in The Guardian. Her BBC series, The Edible Garden aired on BBC2 in April 2010. BBC Books published The Edible Garden to accompany the series. She is also the author of five books.

Photo by Ming De Nasty

About The Chair

Yvette Huddleston

Yvette Huddleston is an author and journalist specialising in the arts. She has written extensively on film, theatre, literature and visual art for a wide range of national and regional publications.