© 2020

Celebrity Memoir

From Ghostwriting to Gender Politics

  • Becomes the first book to combine approaches from the well-established and growing fields of celebrity studies and autobiography studies and offers the first survey of the memoirs of contemporary female celebrities

  • Demonstrates that the celebrity memoir is the exemplary medium from which to extrapolate an understanding of wider celebrity culture

  • Provides new ways of approaching the mediated, collaboratively constructed nature at the heart of both celebrity and autobiography

Palgrave Macmillan

About this book


In this timely analysis of the economics of access that surround contemporary female celebrity, Hannah Yelin reveals a culture that requires women to be constantly ‘baring all’ in physical exposure and psychic confessions. As famous women tell their story, in their ‘own words’, constellations of ghostwriters, intermediaries and market forces undermine assertions of authorship and access to the ‘real’ woman behind the public image. Yelin’s account of the presence of the ghostwriter offers a fascinating microcosm of the wider celebrity machine, with insights pertinent to all celebrity mediation. Yelin surveys life-writing genres including fiction, photo-diary, comic-strip, and art anthology, as well as more ‘traditional’ autobiographical forms; covering a wide range of media platforms and celebrity contexts including reality TV, YouTube, pop stardom, and porn/glamour modelling. Despite this diversity, Yelin reveals seemingly inescapable conventions, as well as spaces for resistance. Celebrity Memoir: from Ghostwriting to Gender Politics offers new insights on the curtailment of women’s voices, with ramifications for literary studies of memoir, feminist media studies, celebrity studies, and work on the politics of production in the creative industries.


Celebrity Ghostwriting Memoir Gender Politics Female Voice Feminism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Oxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK

About the authors

Hannah Yelin is Senior Lecturer in Media and Culture at Oxford Brookes University, UK. She is currently co-authoring a book about girls, leadership and celebrity. Following a 12-year career in the media, Hannah runs Celebrity Culture Club, hosting discussions between academics and media industry figures. She also writes about celebrity for The Independent.

Bibliographic information


“Thought-provoking and innovative, Yelin's work with ghost-writing explores the games of reconstruction, the play of presenting the “real”. At its core, it is a study of gender and (public) subjectivity. In its blending of celebrity studies approaches and autobiography, it is building a new and relevant research direction.” (P. David Marshall, Deakin University)

“Yelin takes a deep-dive approach to unpack authenticity and the phenomenon of the constructed image. This compelling argument about agency and selfhood illuminates a complex and highly gendered process of continual negotiation. A noteworthy intervention.” (Hannah Hamad, Cardiff University)

“Who is holding the pen and why does it matter? Yelin responds to these questions with an analysis that is both forensic and fascinating, casting the world's most famous women in a new light.” (Elizabeth Pears, BuzzFeed)