Monday 26 April 2021

Samantha Ellis and Her Enjoyable Books

Let’s start by stating that I am a big fan of Samantha Ellis and have been ever since I read her much beloved book How to Be a Heroine a couple of years ago. In this book, she explores different literary heroines and how they have shaped her life. This is often quite funny and recognizable.

Ellis successfully combines clever observations about literary heroines with personal experiences and anecdotes. One of the conclusions she comes to is that while she had always identified herself with “wild, free, passionate Cathy” Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights, she actually “should have been trying to be Jane” Eyre, a woman who listens to her own voice and makes her own way in life.

Thursday 22 April 2021

Samantha Ellis didn’t come to Brussels – but she gave us a wonderful talk

Why Anne Brontë didn’t go to Brussels and why it matters was the title of Samantha Ellis’s eagerly awaited talk to our group, which finally took place on 20 April. Afterwards, Samantha tweeted about the irony of giving a talk about Anne not coming to Brussels while being unable herself to come to Brussels. She said she was sad not to be on a Eurostar eating ‘proper chocolate’ as she headed home.

Samantha was originally billed to speak to us in April last year, Anne’s bicentenary year, when she was busy promoting her book Take Courage. Then Covid struck, the lockdown began and her visit to Brussels was put on hold. A year on, Covid is still with us and Samantha’s talk had to be held virtually. But her speaking style works well on Zoom. Her talk was just like her book – personal, entertaining, erudite, packed with anecdotes and facts.