Emma Forrest

Emma Forrest Biography

Writer (1976–)
Novelist and screenwriter Emma Forrest began her career as a journalist at age 15, writing about Madonna; the film version of her memoir, Your Voice In My Head, stars actress Emma Watson.


Emma Forrest was born on December 26, 1976, in London, England. Set on a pattern of destructive behavior at an early age, she also evinced a precocious writing talent that landed her articles and a column called "Generation X" in national publications while still in her teens. Novels and screenplays followed, and her best-selling memoir chronicling her self-harm, her tempestuous affair with a Hollywood actor and the therapist who set her on a healing path was adapted into a film starring Emma Watson, Your Voice in My Head.

Early Life

Emma Forrest was born on December 26, 1976, in London, England, into what has been described as "a loving, if eccentric," Jewish family—her British father is a solicitor and her American mother, Judy Raines, is a writer, primarily for British television.

Forrest grew up in west London with a younger sister, and insists that she was self-destructive beginning at an early age. She told an interviewer that she was almost strangled by her umbilical chord at birth, adding, "They say that's a factor in manic depression."

Her mania, she said, led to over-eating and bulimia, but despite her harmful private behavior, her career took off. Described as having a precocious talent, an article on British chef Nigella Lawson for the school magazine led to a piece on Madonna for the London Evening Standard when Forrest was just 15, which, in turn, secured her gigs as a music journalist and a column called "Generation X" for the Sunday Times in Britain.

But the flip side of her accomplishments included jealous criticism, and at age 16, a trip to a tattoo parlor ignited a passion for cutting herself.

Career as a Writer

Forrest's journalism career—Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar—continued to expand; she interviewed and hobnobbed with celebrities that included Brad Pitt, Snoop Dogg and Minnie Driver. The next step was novels: Namedropper came in 1998, which garnered her the description "Jane Austen of the techno-generation," followed by Thin Skin in 2002 and Cherries in the Snow in 2005.

But during all this, which involved a move to New York, the bulimia and cutting continued. And then she made a suicide attempt. Forrest found a therapist, whom she called Dr. R in her subsequent memoir, Your Voice In My Head. He became a central figure in her life, and she credits him with saving it. Another central figure of the book, which became a New York Times best-seller, was actor Colin Farrell. Although unnamed in the story, their tempestuous love affair and its ultimate demise threads alongside her significant relationship with her therapist, who suddenly and unexpectedly dies of lung cancer around the time her relationship with Farrell implodes.

The memoir tracks the peaks and valleys of Forrest's destructive behavior, the healing path her therapist put her on, and the strength she found from his counsel to navigate herself through the break-up and his death.

An interviewer, Maude Newton, wrote of Forrest, "Like any writer worth a damn, [Forrest] is her most fascinating, honest, open self in her work, not in interviews."

In 2012, it was announced that Harry Potter actress Emma Watson would play Forrest an a film adaptation of Your Voice In My Head, set to be released in late 2013. Forrest herself is writing the screenplay, having turned to screenwriting for a biopic of musician Jeff Buckley and a 2009 screenplay, Liars, optioned by Miramax. She's on Variety magazine's list of "Top Ten Screenwriters to Watch."

Personal Life

Forrest, who maintains a blog called "Emma's Mix Tape," married Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, The Place Beyond the Pines) in 2012 at her old writing hangout in Los Angeles, the storied Chateau Marmont.

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