Join us at Sotheby's for a discussion featuring remarkable literary figures: Helen Fielding, creator of the Bridget Jones novels and films, and Gill Hornby, author of the bestseller Miss Austen. In conversation with novelist Kate Mosse and International Specialist from the Books and Manuscripts department, Dr. Kalika Sands, they will explore the enduring appeal and contemporary significance of the beloved 19th-century novelist Jane Austen and the impact she has had on their own life and work.
Fielding will explain how she drew on the plot, characters and timeless themes of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for her hit novel Bridget Jones’s Diary. Her heroine is a modern, relatable woman dealing with the same challenges of finding love and meeting societal expectations as Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet. Hornby meanwhile will reveal how she was inspired by a real-life literary mystery when she created her fictional account of Austen’s life, as seen from the viewpoint of her sister Cassandra.
Meet the Panel
Award-winning novelist, playwright, essayist and non-fiction writer. She has written nine novels and short-story collections, including the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy, The Joubert Family Chronicles, number one bestselling Gothic fiction The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter and the highly-acclaimed memoir An Extra Pair of Hands. She is the Founder-Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and the Founder of the global #WomanInHistory campaign. Her latest book, part detective story, part family history and part dictionary of 1000 women missing from history is Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries: How Women (Also) Built the World.
Novelist and screenwriter best known as the creator of Bridget Jones. She is the author of the multi-million selling novels, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy and Bridget Jones’s Baby, and co-writer of the screenplays of the Bridget Jones movies. She worked for many years for the BBC and as a journalist for British newspapers including the Independent, Sunday Times, Times, and Daily Telegraph. She also worked on documentaries including the Thames TV documentary “Where Hunger is a Weapon” about the war in South Sudan. In a survey conducted by The Guardian newspaper, Bridget Jones’s Diary was named as one of the ten novels that best defined the 20th century.
Author of the novels The Hive and All Together Now, as well as Miss Austen, which was the no.1 bestseller and one of the best novels of 2020 according to the Times and Observer, and Godmersham Park, which was a top ten bestseller. She has also written The Story of Jane Austen, a biography of Austen for young readers.
Dr. Kalika Sands
Dr. Kalika Sands joined Sotheby’s in 2017 as an Associate Cataloguer in the Books & Manuscripts department, and is now an International Specialist. She completed her D.Phil. (Ph.D.) at the University of Oxford, where her research focused on the intersections of British literature and the history of science and medicine. During her tenure at Sotheby’s, she has been involved in many important collections including those of Barbara and Ira Lipman, Dorothy Tapper Goldman, and most recently, Bibliotheca Brookeriana.