27 | A Chat With Samantha Ellis
Listen to Episode 27: A Chat With Samantha Ellis
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This Tuesday, I'm delighted to say that I'm in conversation with Samantha Ellis, one of my favourite writers. As well as being a highly acclaimed playwright, Samantha has written the books How to be a Heroine and Take Courage: Anne Brontë and the Art of Life. In How to be a Heroine, Samantha reexamines the literary heroines she idolised as a young adult, and her latest book, Take Courage, is a biography of Anne Brontë.
I adored How to be a Heroine, and in today's episode I question Samantha a little about her first book, asking what she found most surprising when she returned to her favourite female characters as an adult.
Samantha also shares what inspired her to turn her hand to biography, and how learning more about Anne's life taught her to be increasingly courageous in her own. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë is one my very favourite novels, so I was fascinated to learn more about Anne's life from reading Take Courage. In this biography, Samantha truly brings Anne's story to life and also writes openly about her own journey in discovering more about the Brontë family and her reflections on Anne's writing. Anne is - most undeservedly! - the least widely read of the Brontë sisters, and I was very pleased to get the chance to ask Samantha more about her thoughts on why Anne is still so little read.
If you're a fan of the Brontës - and Anne in particular - then I highly recommend getting a copy of Take Courage to read yourself, but this episode of Tea & Tattle will give you a little taster of what you can expect from Samantha's book.
Listen for a fascinating insight into the life of Anne Brontë and her writing.
- 00:27 - Miranda introduces Samantha Ellis.
- 01:55 - Samantha shares how her love for reading and writing started as a child.
- 03:23 - What surprised Samantha most when she returned to her favourite childhood books and heroines as an adult.
- 06:31 - The books Samantha wishes she had read as a young girl, including Jane Eyre.
- 08:48 - Miranda questions Samantha on what inspired her to write a biography of Anne Brontë.
- 12:49 - Samantha explains why Anne's writing is lesser known than her sisters.
- 15:19 - Miranda asks Samantha to read an extract from Take Courage.
- 20:33 - How Samantha overcame the lack of primary sources available to piece together Anne's life.
- 23:13 - Whether reading more of Anne's writing and learning more of her life altered Samantha's views on Charlotte and Emily's books.
- 28:52 - How Anne's final words have inspired Samantha to be more courageous in her own life.
- 31:05 - Samantha describes how her books have also inspired her work as a playwright.
- 32:21 - What's next for Samantha and information about her new play.
- Take Courage: Anne Brontë and the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis.
- How to be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis.
- L. M. Montgomery's Emily books.
- The Brontë Parsonage in Haworth.
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë.
- How to Date a Feminist by Samantha Ellis.
- Samantha's new play, The Only Jew in England, showing 18th-22nd May at Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch.
- Samantha Ellis' website and twitter.
click on the Twitter icon to share my favourite quote from this episode
Take courage, Charlotte, take courage.
- Anne Brontë
Thank you so much for listening and being a part of Tea & Tattle podcast. As always, we love to hear your thoughts, so please let us know:
What did you enjoy most about this episode? Are you a fan of Anne Brontë's novels, and have you read any of Samantha's books?
Don't forget to tune in again next Tuesday, when Sophie is back on the podcast! We're sharing our best tips for travel planning and packing, so we'll be well prepared for the summer.