Jessie Burton

jessie burton

 

 

 

We mustn’t assume that hard-won victories for our rights are ours to keep.

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Biography

Jessie Burton is the author of two novels, The Miniaturist (2014), and The Muse (2016), published in 38 languages. Both were Sunday Times no.1 bestsellers, New York Times bestsellers, and Radio 4's Book at Bedtime. The Miniaturist sold over a million copies in its year of publication, and won National Book Awards Book of the Year and Waterstones Book of the Year. It was adapted as a TV series for BBC One, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Romola Garai. For younger readers, she has written The Restless Girls (2018), an illustrated re-telling of the Brothers Grimm tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and her second book for children, a feminist re-write of Medusa, will appear in 2020. Her essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Independent, Vogue, Elle, Red, Grazia, Lonely Planet Traveller and The Spectator. Harpers Bazaar US and Stylist have published her short stories.

A woman who has inspired me

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” – Frida Kahlo

My words to share with others

I think women in particular need to remember that there will always be someone who doubts you, who is jealous of you, who doesn’t like you – but being universally liked doesn’t make you a kinder, better, happier person, or more good at your job. It just makes you exhausted. You can’t please everyone. Spend the energy you save on your own development, on the projects and people you care about, and on those who care about you.

 

My proudest achievement

I am always proudest when I receive letters from readers of all ages and genders who tell me that my novels got them through a rough time, or made them want to create something themselves, or made them think differently, or simply gave them enjoyment. It’s wonderful when art connects us like that.

My thoughts on feminism and women’s suffrage

Feminism, as complex and divided as it sometimes is as a movement, is more important than ever. We mustn’t assume that hard-won victories for our rights are ours to keep. Governments and ideologues will always use a woman’s body –her very place in society – as a primary battleground for their own agenda of power. Reproductive rights and maternity care, education, equal pay, the need to have cases of domestic violence and abuse better believed and prosecuted, support for carers – most of whom are women – and representation in culture and the arts – all these issues are a constant fight. Very importantly, if feminism is going to be stronger as a movement, it needs to understand the different experiences of women of colour, both in the west and worldwide, at the hands of government authorities and mainstream media. The world is diverse and ever-more propulsive: institutions need to abandon old models and understand that valuing ALL women’s work and listening to ALL women’s needs will make EVERYBODY happier.

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