Long time Margate Bookie presenter and pal, Emily Midorikawa chats with Margate Bookie about her talk with Samantha Ellis on their written work and some of history’s greatest and overlooked women writers. We catch up with Emily to discuss this and what went on at her event.
What was Uncovering Past Lives all about?
It was about the challenges, rewards and constant surprises that come with writing about overlooked or widely misunderstood women of the past. Topics we delved into included literary heroines, female writer friends and Victorian spirit mediums – that last grouping being the subject of my most recent book, Out of the Shadows: Six Visionary Victorian Women in Search of a Public Voice.
What did you chat about in your event?
Since my co-speaker and I have both written about the Brontë sisters, we ended up talking quite a bit about them, as well as other famous female authors and literary characters and the impact that they’ve had on us. We also focused on some of the less celebrated women we’ve written about, asking why their reputations today are not what they might be. And we shared insights into our approaches as writers to profiling these women in our books.
Who were you chatting with?
I always really looking forward to chatting with Samantha Ellis, a writer I greatly admire. In addition to her work as a playwright, Samantha is the author of How to Be A Heroine: Or What I’ve Learned From Reading Too Much and Take Courage: Anne Brontë and the Art of Life. The two of us did an online Margate Bookie event back in 2020, which was fun, and so to have the chance to get together in person and having the chance to discuss new things was amazing.
How did it go?
I always have fun at Margate Bookie, but this year felt like an extra treat. After all the disruption of the pandemic, live events still feel very special at this point. Nothing beats the experience of being able to sit down in a room with readers.
I particularly enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm for the unusual Victorian-era celebrities I write about in Out of the Shadows – women whose apparent ability to contact the dead brought them astonishing levels of cultural and political influence. And I loved hearing about Samantha’s research and writing methods, especially in relation to her last book, Take Courage, which I thoroughly recommend.