My Celebrity Interviews: 3. Anne Bronte

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No. 3 of my celebrity interviews series.

ME: How’s business, Miss Bronte?

AB: Goin’ dahn t’nick – ah popped me clogs

ME: Sales were good?

AB: ‘Appen “The Tenant” was’t more than summat

ME: Did you need the dosh?

AB: We was’t reight dahn t’cinders an’ ah’ll tell thee that for nowt

ME: Can you cut the dialect?

AB: Certainly. Can you cut the stupid questions?

ME: What happened to setting up a school as a business?

AB: Ask Charlotte.

ME: Whose idea was the 3 sisters’ writing business?

AB: Ask Charlotte

ME: Why did it work?

AB: We’re great writers – Emily and I wrote together all our lives.

ME: Why was so little of your prose found after your death?

AB: Ask Charlotte

ME: What makes a great writer?

AB: You love it. You write about what you know and care about.

ME: How do you write daily?

AB: Never stare at blank sheets of paper. Emily and I walked on the moors and then wrote.

ME: You sound like a Happipreneur?

AB: You sound as daft as a brush

ME: Why were the reviewers of your books so shocked?

AB: The truth is shocking. It takes courage to dive into the murky waters to find the truth and then tell it.

ME: Such as?

AB: You won’t believe this but in my day, powerful men legislated against women.

ME: How?

AB: They passed laws to say what we could and couldn’t do with our education, marriage, homes, possessions, jobs, children and even our bodies.

ME: Despite your poor background you had a classical education?

AB: Because of my Irish father who went to Cambridge. I only had two years at school. Girls weren’t allowed to learn the subjects I learned.

ME: But there were very few non-manual jobs available?

AB: Teacher or governess or married slave.

ME: What was the worst thing about being a governess?

AB: It’s all in “Agnes Grey”. My druggie brother, Branwell, shagging my employer, Mrs Robinson, was an awkward moment.

ME: So self-employment, like Helen Graham in “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” was the only way to be free?

AB: She ran away from her rich, drunken and abusive husband to bring her son up safely. She sold her paintings to make ends meet.

ME: No one had written a novel like that?

AB: No one wrote about single mothers – just young women chasing handsome but flawed hunks.

ME: Ask Charlotte?

AB: Ha!

ME: Did you go to Scarborough to die?

AB: No – to get better. I had great ideas. It was too late. I begged them to take me there 5 weeks before I died.

ME: I say hello at your graveside every week.

AB: Thanks and I like all the flowers my fans send on my birthday.

ME: Charlotte has a lot to answer for?

AB: She is my much-loved and lovely sister but also competitive, manipulative, jealous and ashamed of Emily’s and my work.

ME: Oh.

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