Menopause & Me: Linda Grant

Novelist Linda Grant has written some of our favourite books, including her latest, A Stranger City. For Linda, menopause was not a huge drama, and she wants other women to know that it might actually be ok.

What is your age and stage?

68 and post menopausal. 

How old were you when symptoms started?

I was 52. The noticeable symptoms were lighter, spotty periods, missing one, then gradual decline. About 18 months after my last period, I had a final period. I called NHS Direct who told me it was nothing to worry about, but a friend whose wife is a gynaecologist told me this could be a symptom of ovarian cancer and I should get it checked out. I did, and fortunately it was just one last menstrual gasp. 

Were your symptoms what you expected?

I’d read so much about the awfulness of menopause I was surprised not to have any hot flushes. In fact, my menopause was almost symptomless. 

Was anything challenging to deal with?

Nothing really. My GP was hellbent on prescribing HRT. My mother and one of her sisters both developed breast cancer in their sixties and I was determined not to take it, precisely because I had such a symptomless menopause. But it was a struggle to get out of there without a prescription.

Any positive symptoms?

No longer having periods was very welcome.

What advice did you seek?

I had a copy of the old feminist classic Women: Our Bodies Ourselves Growing Older, which prepared me for what to expect.

Anything you wish you’d known?

That people have different experiences of the menopause and there’s no need to expect that the worst case scenario must happen.

Any impact on your daily life?

Nothing really. (This is getting a bit smug and boring!)

Your thoughts on this time of a woman’s life?

Being rid of periods feels like a gift from the gods. Your fifties can be a very productive time, mine were.

Your menopause was…

A small thing, lightly borne.

You feel Hylda when…

I’m not subject to raging hormonal changes.

A Stranger City is available in hardback now at

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