Happy Birthday, Joanna Trollope, born 9 December 1943
What has been the greatest writing influence for Joanna Trollope?
‘Simply – just life, I think. At certain stages – I’m sure this is true of everyone – a particular person or book or idea or movie can strike a huge chord, but, looking back, I can see a whole series of influences – personal, educational, social, professional, economic – that have shaped me rather than being able to point to one single colossus and say ‘It was him, or her’.
Very few writers can be said to be prophets, true inventors… We take the old human truths that Shakespeare and Sophocles described inimitably, and we re-interpret them for our own times, in our own voices, coloured by as it were, our own messages to the world.
The pen is there to illuminate, to describe the human condition in contemporary terms, to – in fiction’s case certainly, – describe ourselves better than anything else can – except for the simple struggle of just living life. Writers aren’t there to tell you what to think. They are there to beckon you into a book and join them in the thinking.’
Joanna Trollope: Three Top Writing Quotes
- I don’t always set stories in villages, more often in towns. But always in smallish communities because the characters’ actions are more visible there, and the dramatic tension is heightened.
- I plot the first 5 or 6 chapters quite minutely, and also the end. So I know where I am going but not how I’m going to get there, which gives characters the chance to develop organically, as happens in real life as you get to know a person.
- You can’t be too old to be a writer, but you can definitely be too young!
Joanna Trollope is the British author of many highly acclaimed best-selling novels including A Village Affair, The Choir, and The Rector’s Wife. She has also written a study of women in the British Empire, Britannia’s Daughters. Joanna was appointed OBE in the 1996 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. She chaired the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012.
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