Mulgrew: Why Born With Teeth

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Kate Mulgrew explained why she decided to pen her memoir now.

The clock ticking and the death of loved ones were motivators for Mulgrew.

When asked why write her story now, she said, “My age. The deaths of my parents. That was imperative. I’m not going to suggest that it was an epiphanic thing. I just knew that I wanted to write it, that I needed to write it and that the time was right.”

In Born With Teeth, Mulgrew speaks of her childhood, relationships, sexual abuse, and finding her adoptive daughter. While she wrote about Star Trek: Voyager, she skipped her relationship with Voyager Director Rick Kolbe, and there’s nothing about her current hit, Orange is the New Black in the book. Why did she include some things and leave out others? “These are the moments that defined me,” said Mulgrew. “Star Trek is an entire chapter. I didn’t write it for the Trekkers. It’s a memoir about me.”

Writing Born With Teeth was cathartic for the actress. “Cathartic wouldn’t be the word,” she said. “It’d be brave. I was bold. I was ready; you’ve got to emphasize that word for me. There’s a readiness in every life, if it’s been lived as mine has been lived, to which the memoirist must respond. Not only were my parents dead, but I’d reclaimed my daughter and she’s now been in my life in a very, very substantial way for eight years. We have a wonderful and quite-deeply realized relationship. I wanted also to leave something for my grandchildren to read about when I’m gone. It’s very Irish, this approach. I also wanted to do it with whatever lyricism and eloquence and austerity that I could endow it with. And I hope I accomplished that.”

Is this it for opening up about her life, or is there more to come? “The process of writing was an unexpected delight, both in its challenges, the anguish and the incredible sense of freedom and joy I experienced in that solitude, because I went away and took a house at the beach,” she said. “I found that solitude to be possibly one of the greatest, most-enriching experiences I’ve ever had. I’m longing to do it again. And with any luck I will do it again. I’m wide open and hopeful about telling more of the story.”

Born With Teeth is available for purchase here.


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