A Secret Sisterhood – out in paperback today

I’m so happy to announce that A Secret Sisterhood: The hidden friendships of Austen, Brontё, Eliot and Woolf is out in paperback today. My friend and co-author, Emma Claire Sweeney, and I are having a blog tour to celebrate, and there’s a post about this on our joint website, Something Rhymed.

In this post, we also talk about some planned changes we have coming up on Something Rhymed, which include opportunities for those who’d like to write a piece or two for the website or to help out with editorial or admin. Do take a look if you are interested.

A Secret Sisterhood is out today in the USA

I’m delighted to announce that my book A Secret Sisterhood: The literary friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf (with a foreword by Margaret Atwood, and co-written with Emma Claire Sweeney) is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt today.

To mark the occasion, Emma and I feel honoured to have a piece about the rivalrous friendship of Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf in the Paris Review. If you are interested in finding out more about this, and the other friendships we celebrate in our book, today’s blog post on Something Rhymed, the literary blog I run with Emma, takes a look back at some of our recent reviews and articles.

After knowing Emma for well over a decade-and-a-half, it is wonderful to have chance to celebrate this milestone in our own writing friendship.

A Secret Sisterhood is out now

After years of research and writing, I’m delighted that A Secret Sisterhood – co-written with Emma Claire Sweeney, and with a foreword by Margaret Atwood – is out in the UK.

Emma and I are so pleased to have had the chance to offer something of a taster of the book in interviews and feature articles with the Daily Telegraph, the Yorkshire Post and The Pool, among others.

We’ve also got some related events coming up, the next one being a talk with author and playwright Samantha Ellis at Waterstones Crouch End on Wednesday 7 June.

Tickets are £4 and can be reserved here.

You can find a list of my other future events with Emma here.

 

Coming Soon! – A Secret Sisterhood: The Hidden Friendships of Austen, Brontё, Eliot and Woolf

It’s been ages since I posted anything here and so I thought I really ought to remedy this.

Emma Claire Sweeney and I have spent the greatest part of the past few months, working away on our co-authored book. Most frequently, we’ve been hunched over our desks in our own studies or at Senate House Library, but we also spent an enjoyable – if chilly – week in January on a Bread Matters Cultural Foundation residency near Lisbon.

This was, in fact, the same place that we’d taken ourselves off to when we were first planning our, then unnamed, website about female literary friendship, which we’ve been running for the past three years. So it seemed especially fitting to return here in early 2017, when we were in the final stages of editing our book on the literary friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontё, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf.

Proofs for A Secret Sisterhood. Looking forward to seeing the real copies…

At last, the UK edition of A Secret Sisterhood has gone off to the printers and the US version will not be far behind. The UK edition is available for pre-order here, the US one here.

Unlike the posts we write on Something Rhymed, necessarily limited to a few hundred words, each section of A Secret Sisterhood delves in far greater detail into one of the book’s four main literary friendships. We’re both looking forward to hearing what readers think of the stories we’ll be sharing of Jane Austen and the amateur playwright Anne Sharp; Charlotte Brontё and the feminist author Mary Taylor; literary legends George Eliot and Harriet Beecher Stowe; and the combative, yet affectionate, friendship of Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf.

Another thing I’m eagerly anticipating is the prospect of doing more events with Emma. The last talk we gave at City, University of London – with Something Rhymed guest bloggers Susan Barker, Ann Morgan and Denise Saul – feels a very long time ago now, and so Emma and I are glad to be in the process of organising many more literary friendship-themed sessions. One of these will be the 46th annual lecture for the George Eliot Fellowship, at which we’ll be the keynote speakers. We’ll be focusing on Eliot’s transatlantic literary friendship with Stowe – surprisingly little known today despite its historical importance.

The lecture takes place at 2.30 pm on Saturday 16 September. Tickets can be purchased here.

A Secret Sisterhood: a book written with my friend, Emma Claire Sweeney

Creative Commons licence
Creative Commons licence

Emma Claire Sweeney and I already blogged about our forthcoming book on Something Rhymed, but I thought it would be a good idea to share a link to that post here too. A Secret Sisterhood, which focuses on the literary friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf, will be published by Aurum Press in the UK and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the USA, both in late 2017.

Emma and I are heavily into research and writing now, but we look forward to sharing snippets of the stories of these friendships on our website, and delving into everything in much greater depth in our book, A Secret Sisterhood.

‘A Secret Sisterhood’ talk at NYU London

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Emma Claire Sweeney and I will be giving a talk at NYU London tomorrow (3rd December).

‘A Secret Sisterhood’ will focus on our research into female literary friendship, in particular the friendships of George Eliot and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf.

We’ll let our Something Rhymed readers know how it went in an upcoming blog post, and you can find out more about these relationships, and many others, by visiting Something Rhymed.

Article in Shooter magazine: Emily Dickinson and Helen Hunt Jackson

The only authenticated portrait of Emily Dickinson (later in childhood). This image is in the public domain. The original is held by the Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College.
Emily Dickinson (later in childhood). This image is in the public domain. The original is held by the Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College.

Emma Claire Sweeney and I were delighted to be approached by new literary magazine, Shooter, with a request that we contribute an article to their first issue.

‘Success is Counted Sweetest’, our piece on the literary friendship between Emily Dickinson and Helen Hunt Jackson, is the result. Readers of our joint website Something Rhymed may recall that we profiled this fascinating relationship on-line some months ago, but it was a pleasure to revisit it in a longer form in print.

Our research into this pair has caused us to seriously reevaluate our earlier impressions of Dickinson as an out-and-out recluse, and encouraged us to look with a more careful eye at the woman known to her curious neighbours as The Myth.

This process of reevaluation has, in fact, played a much broader part in the work we’ve been doing for the website.

Jane Austen’s radical friendship with family governess Anne Sharp, we discovered, challenges the notion that she was a timid, conservative lady. Diary entries left behind by Virginia Woolf cast doubt on popular depictions of her and Katherine Mansfield as bitter foes. The bond between Helen Keller and Nancy Hamilton transforms the ‘saintly’ image of the former and shows her as an even more interesting individual.

If you are interested in finding out more about these friendships, or the many others we have featured so far, you can do so by visiting the Profiled Writers page of Something Rhymed.