Michaela Coel plays the first on-screen writer I can relate to

Candice Carty-Williams

Michaela Coel’s critically acclaimed new TV series I May Destroy You (BBC One), the journey of a young woman uncovering and trying to deal with sexual trauma, is a show that I fall for more with each episode.

I love the moments of surrealism and Coel’s nods to the ridiculous and all-consuming nature of social media. But most of all, I enjoy that the main character, Arabella Essiedu (played by Coel herself), is an author. It’s the first time I’ve seen a writer on screen that I can relate to (God knows I have nothing in common with Paul Sheldon of Stephen King’s Misery).

The series begins with Arabella under pressure to come up with a second book, and I identified with that intensely; Coel brilliantly captures how alienating and terrifying “writing showcases” can be (for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, these are industry events where an author nervously reads from their unpublished work). She skewers the publishing people you encounter who don’t at all care about you, only what you can write for them, and shows the weird disconnect you get when, just because someone knows your work, they think they know you.

It’s a series that really, truly makes you think. Whether Coel destroys me with her writing or not, I’m locked in for the ride.