In The Lounge

“Unforgettable, powerful and entirely new”
Kate Williams on the literary women who have inspired her

To celebrate International Women’s Day we are asking our authors who their literary heroines are. This morning Fearne Cotton popped in for a chat, and this afternoon we are joined by the wonderful Kate Williams to talk all things Brontë. Join us on Twitter or Facebook to tell us about your heroines for #WonderWomen16

As a child, I was inspired by the nineteenth-century female authors who created incredible works of literature – often against the odds.

I love the Brontës – I think it’s impossible to go to Haworth and not be fascinated and inspired by the place that they lived in and wrote about. When you look at the small sitting room, the table at which all three sisters sat and wrote their novels – it seems so small, a reminder of the incredible power of their imagination.

Charlotte used to be my favourite but in recent years I have become fascinated by Emily. Unlike Charlotte, she had little interest in travel or even outward endeavour – it was Charlotte who pushed forward the idea of setting up the school. Emily was shy, preferred to be at home or walking over the moors. And yet this quiet Bronte produced in Wuthering Heights one of the most passionate and shocking books of the nineteenth century.

Emily Brontë is an inspiring novelist and poet – she didn’t give up, despite rejection and she resisted hardship and uncertainty to carry on writing. Her book refuses the conventions of Victorian womanhood, domesticity and class – and is unforgettable, powerful and entirely new. She comes out of her time – and makes her time all the better.

Kate’s latest novel, The Edge of the Fall, is out in paperback on the 10th March.

Find out more about our #Wonderwomen16 here

Kate Williams

Kate Williams is an author, social historian, constitutional and royal expert, broadcaster and novelist. She has an MA from Queen Mary, University of London, and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. She appears regularly on the BBC and Channel 4. She lives in London.