Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves
How two close friends uncovered the most important female friendships in literature
No, I’m not talking Annie Lennox – we’re gonna ramp it up here on Muddy and check out some high-end literary magic (not that Annie isn’t high end, or magical, but you know what I mean.) Two close friends, Emma Claire Sweeney (an old writing mucker of mine) and her bestie Emily Midorikawa publish their first joint literary tome this month, exploring the hidden friendships of Austen, Brontё, Eliot and Woolf and how female friendships can be not only fruitful but necessary for some of the great writers of our time.
Some of the deepest female friendships between writers have been overlooked and ignored in the past but authors Emma and Emily are determined to change this. While we know all about some male literary friendships – Byron and Shelley, Fitzgerald and Hemingway, often the stuff of legend – some of the world’s best-loved female authors are portrayed as isolated and solitary, as odd eccentric spinsters. Emily and Emma’s experiences as female writers led them to question these accounts of extreme seclusion and, through letters and diaries which have never been published before, A Secret Sisterhood resurrects some previously forgotten, unknown even, stories of female friendships that were sometimes pretty scandalous.
Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney
Emma and Emily first met in their early twenties, straight out of university, so shy about their literary ambitions that it took them almost a year to even share them with each other. But having ‘come out’ as aspiring authors, over the years that followed they trod a joint path, together labouring over drafts of novels and learning about the vagaries of the publishing industry – sharing both struggles and moments of celebration. As we know, the publishing world is pretty hard to crack these days – maybe having a strong female friendship to share, support and critique you is the way forward.
Anyone wanna be my bestie? Come on, let’s get that bestseller published!
A Secret Sisterhood: The hidden friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney will be published by Aurum Press on 1 June 2017 (£20).
Writer friends Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney are the authors of A Secret Sisterhood: The hidden friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf. They also co-run SomethingRhymed.com, a website that celebrates female literary friendship. They have written for the likes of the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday and The Times. Emily is a winner of the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, Emma is author of the award-winning novel Owl Song at Dawn, and they both teach at New York University London.