Friday, 3 October 2008
I'm off to Knutsford tomorrow, to speak at the Literature Festival, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the place where Mrs Gaskell lived, and transformed into Cranford. It's the ideal setting to talk about 'Daphne', too, given that my novel is partly about real and fictional landscapes, and the blurring of the boundaries between the two; and how writers are inspired by actual places, which also come to represent emotional territories; and then of course there's the way that truth and fiction are woven together into a myth (by Mrs Gaskell in "The Life of Charlotte Bronte", and Daphne du Maurier in "The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte"); all of which I'm trying to explore in 'Daphne'.
After Knutsford, I'll be rushing to the Literature Festival at Ilkley -- a Yorkshire town much liked by Charlotte Bronte. As Juliet Barker writes in her excellent book, "The Brontes", Charlotte visited there in 1853 with her friend, Miss Wooler. "The two friends could wander the wide, tree-lined streets, admire the grand new hotels, visit the mineral water spa on the hillside above the town and walk up to the moors where the skyline was dominated by the sombre outline of the Cow and Calf rocks."
Sadly, I'll have no time to sample such delights -- it's straight back to London for me, via a late train from Leeds...