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A Secret Sisterhood The Hidden Friendships of Austen, Bronte, Eliot and Woolf by Emily Midorikawa, Emma Claire Sweeney, Margaret Atwood

A Secret Sisterhood The Hidden Friendships of Austen, Bronte, Eliot and Woolf

Biography / Autobiography   


A Secret Sisterhood The Hidden Friendships of Austen, Bronte, Eliot and Woolf by Emily Midorikawa, Emma Claire Sweeney, Margaret Atwood

`In digging up the forgotten friendships chronicled in A Secret Sisterhood, Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney have done much service to literary history.' Margaret Atwood `A Secret Sisterhood will help make women's literary friendships of the past relevant to the present.' Michele Roberts `A Secret Sisterhood offers a clever new perspective on established literary figures.' Tracy Chevalier In their first book together, Midorikawa and Sweeney resurrect four literary collaborations, which were sometimes illicit, scandalous and volatile; sometimes supportive, radical or inspiring; but always, until now, tantalisingly consigned to the shadows. Drawing on letters and diaries, some of which have never been published before, and new documents uncovered during the authors' research, the creative connections explored here reveal: Jane Austen's bond with a family servant, the amateur playwright Anne Sharp; how Charlotte Bronte was inspired by the daring feminist Mary Taylor; the transatlantic relationship between George Eliot and the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe; and the underlying erotic charge that lit the friendship of Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield - a pair too often dismissed as bitter foes. A Secret Sisterhood uncovers the hidden literary friendships of the world's most respected female authors.


'This is such an uplifting book and one that I enjoyed immensely. If you love to read novels by these four literary heroines, and are interested in literary history, then this book will really appeal to you. In fact, for anyone interested in literature, or for those who just fancy an absorbing non-fiction read, then you really will enjoy this wonderful treat of a book.' *Brew and Books Review

'A Secret Sisterhood allowed me to walk alongside these famous writers, imagining their thoughts and feelings, sensing the pressure of the cobbles beneath their feet. A Secret Sisterhood is an earnest manifesto for female literary friendship, using the past to remind us that women writers are still fighting to be taken as seriously as their male counterparts and one way to win that fight is to work together.' Byte the Book

'The book is well-written and curated, turning historical documents into something between recreation and critique...A Secret Sisterhood is an engaging look at the little written about female friendships of significant women writers. It's a delight to see women as the focus of this type of work; here's hoping there's a sequel!' The Writes of Woman

'Midorikawa and Sweeney have committed an exceptional act if literary espionage. English literature owes them a great debt' Financial Times

'The amount of research which has gone into this book is more than impressive, with the authors not only drawing on diaries and letters of the day, but also uncovering new documents never before seen. The reader is invited to share the secrets of their lives and we certainly don't expect what is revealed. The result is a warm and surprising depiction of close and, in some cases, unlikely friendships between these extraordinary women. This book is a joy to read' Breakaway Reviewers

About the Author

Emily Midorikawa lectures at City University and at New York University in London. She has taught at the University of Cambridge and the Open University, as well as writing for the Daily Telegraph, the Independent on Sunday, The Times, Aesthetica and Mslexia. Her memoir `The Memory Album' appeared in Tangled Roots. Emily is the winner of the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2015. Emma Claire Sweeney has lectured at City University, New York University in London, the University of Cambridge and the Open University. Her work has won Arts Council, Royal Literary Fund and Escalator Awards, and has been shortlisted for several others, including the Asham, Wasafiri and Fish. She writes for newspapers and magazines such as the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday, The Times, and Mslexia. Her debut novel Owl Song at Dawn was published by Legend Press in July 2016 to great acclaim.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st June 2017


Emily Midorikawa, Emma Claire Sweeney, Margaret Atwood

More books by Emily Midorikawa, Emma Claire Sweeney, Margaret Atwood
Author 'Like for Like'


Aurum Press


320 pages


Biography: literary



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