46th Annual George Eliot Lecture 2017


Saturday, 16 September 2017 at 2.30pm

Secret Sisterhood; George Eliot's Literary Friendship

by Emma Claire Sweeney and Emily Midorikawa

Emma Claire Sweeney And Emily Midorikawa Image 300X266            Secret Sisterhood

 Emily and Emma's book A Secret Sisterhood  is to be published this autumn. We are delighted that they will be able to deliver our annual lecture at Chilvers Coton Heritage Centre.

The book deals with literary friendships of Jane Austen, Chatlotte Bronye, Virginia Woolf and George Eliot. Eliot's friendship examined in the book is with Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Whilst male literary friendships are the stuff of legend, our best-loved female authors are usually mythologized as solitary eccentrics or isolated geniuses. Co-authors and friends Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire  Sweeney prove this wrong. They discovered a wealth of surprising collaborations: the friendship between Jane Austen and one of the family servants, playwright Anne Sharp; the daring feminist author Mary Taylor, who shaped the work of Charlotte Brontë; the transatlantic friendship of the seemingly aloof George Eliot and Harriet Beecher Stowe; and Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, most often portrayed as bitter foes, but who, in fact, enjoyed a complex friendship fired by an underlying erotic charge. 

 Through letters and diaries that have never been published before, A Secret Sisterhood resurrects these forgotten stories of female friendships. They were sometimes scandalous and volatile, sometimes supportive and inspiring, but always—until now—tantalizingly consigned to the shadows.

For more information about the authors, our speakers for the 46th Annual Lecture:

They share a blog: 


Emma Claire Sweeney has her own blog: 


She has published a novel Owl Song at Dawn inspired by her autistic sister. It is an uplifting and powerful novel about an eccentric spinster who spends a lifetime in Morecambe Bay, trying to unlock the secrets of her exuberant yet inexplicable twin.

Owl Song Cover

 Emily Midorikawa was the winner of the 2015 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize. Her writing has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, Independent on Sunday, The Times and Mslexia.

Emily's blog is at: https://emilymidorikawa.com/  and you can follow her on Twitter @emilymidorikawa













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