Joanna Trollope has a string of international bestsellers to her name, from Marrying the Mistress and A Village Affair to An Unsuitable Match and The Rector’s Wife.
She has also updated a version of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. And in her interview for the City of Books podcast, Joanna says of the trailblazing writer: “All her characters translate absolutely seamlessly to the present day.”
In this wide-ranging interview, she discusses the ‘three F’s’ which have interested her for decades: fiction, family and feminism.
Joanna has been a feminist for more than half a century – almost as long as she’s been writing books – and quotes Warren Buffet who, when asked for the secret of his success, said it was because he had only to compete against half the world.
Every Englishwoman of her generation had to speak French, learn ballet and how to ride, she said. As a skillset, she’s unsure of its worth today, but has no such doubts about the value of stories. Fiction matters, she insists, particularly novels about domestic life: “Great credence is given to huge, world-changing things but the family is where we learn everything that we then practise in later life.”
Joanna’s latest novel is Mum & Dad which deals with what she calls “the sandwich generation” – women who juggle careers, raising their children and caring for elderly relatives. It’s about a family dilemma when the dream turns to ashes for a couple who relocate to Spain to run a vineyard.
Elsewhere in the episode, Apeirogon author Colum McCann pays tribute to the poet Eavan Boland, who died recently.
City of Books is sponsored by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, Dublin City Council and the Museum of Literature Ireland (MOLI). Its host is Martina Devlin.