Life Writing

Givers have to set limits because takers rarely do – Irma Kurtz

Jersey is currently being treated to its first Connections: Jersey Festival of Words.  A five-day Literary Festival.


Some of the literary talent that have come over to inspire and broaden our minds include:


but for me it was a privilege to spend 90 minutes in the company of the literary legend that is Irma Kurtz.


I am not sure what I expected.  I hadn’t done my homework.  I nearly didn’t make the gig at all thanks to one of our local airlines having crew restriction problems at Southampton Airport, but that is a GOW Rant for another day.

All I knew about her was she had spent forty years as the Agony Aunt for Cosmopolitan but there is so much more to Irma Kurtz.

I think I expected her to be loud and self-opinionated.  I think I would be blowing my own trumpet if I had achieved half what she has but she was none of that, she was simply just honest.  Someone who solves her own problems by going for a long walk.

Interviewed by Jersey’s own Murray Norton, we heard about her Jewish New Jersey NYC upbringing, post-war adolescence and her move to Paris as a teenager.  During her varied career she was a war correspondent in Vietnam and interviewed a head honcho of the Ku Klux Klan when she felt relieved that her anti-Semitic host misheard her surname as Curtis. Then she was asked if she wanted to start Cosmopolitan’s Agony Aunt slot, where all manner of human life and their associated problems would drop through her letterbox … for the next forty years.

Irma Kurtz is a writer first and foremost who, at 79, I sense has many more stories to tell.


Thank you very much for visiting my niche-less blog! If you have time before you leave, would love you to tell us what you think. All the best, Tessa Barrie

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