melting her kettle to accidentally sending round-robin emails, Bridget
Jones author Helen Fielding reveals how she’s a lot like the heroine
Eleanor Harding | Mail Online - June 2, 2014
Author Helen Fielding admitted that she suffered
many of the same misfortunes as her creation Bridget Jones.
She created one of one of the most calamity-hit heroines of contemporary
Now Helen Fielding has revealed that she is more like Bridget Jones than
she would care to admit, and is constantly getting herself into
Whether it’s melting her kettle, sending round-robin emails by mistake
or accidentally stealing petrol, the author admitted her day-to-day life
is not too dissimilar to that of her scatter-brained heroine.
Speaking at the Hay Festival in Wales yesterday, Fielding, 56, said
‘things seem to happen’ to her despite being a world-famous
She said: ‘I have always denied it but think actually maybe there are
some things in common.’
She recounted one incident in which she received a call from her agent
saying that a policeman had called and asked if she was the owner of a
‘It turns out that I had driven away from a petrol station without
paying for the petrol,’ she said.
‘There was some criminal charge going on.’
In another, she accidentally left a kettle on a hob and came back to
find it melting and giving off ‘acrid smoke’.
She said although she was ‘very disorganised’, she kept a file of
the messes she had got herself into which could provide inspiration for
She said: ‘It started when I had my daughter, and I was having her via
C-section. So I decided to do a birth announcement, saying what she was
going to be called, when she was going to be born and so on.
‘So I prepared this email to send to everyone before I went into
hospital. But then I accidentally pressed “send all”.
‘So then I had to then say, “sorry, I haven’t actually had the
baby.” So then when I did have the baby I thought, “I can’t send
another one.” It all got into a terrible mess.’
She also admitted that, like her heroine Bridget, who is always chopping
and changing outfits, she worried what to wear for to speak for the
‘I worried a lot about whether it was OK to wear these boots,’ she
said. ‘I was infected with the concept of effortless festival chic.
This morning I was very confused about what to wear.’
Fielding, whose novel Bridget
Jones’s Diary and the sequel Bridget
Jones: The Edge of Reason were published in the 1990s, said she
hoped the stories had helped single women feel more comfortable about
The books, which were both made into films starring Renée Zellweger and
Colin Firth, tell the story of a single girl in her 30s and her quest
for happiness in love, life and work.
She hit out at the idea that when a woman comes ‘of a certain age’
they were expected to ‘fade away and say, “never mind me”.’
truth is, that we do not actually really change,’ she said. ‘That
mentalness and that sense of hope and joy and the ability to be childish
and be silly and keep exploring life and keep having adventures
and keep having sex and keep seeing what’s round the corner is part of
being a person, a woman.’
added: ‘Life is for living. We live longer, and especially women, we
should carry on and give ourselves a new identity. Especially
thirty-something women, don’t think of themselves as tragic barren
spinsters now. They are not Miss Haversham.’
She also lamented the fact that societal expectations were so high for
women to be perfect in every aspect of their lives.
She said: ‘The bar now is so high in terms of what we’re supposed to
be like. In terms of what we’re supposed to look like, what we’re
supposed to wear, what we’re supposed to be like as parents, and what
we are supposed to have achieved professionally.’
‘I think it’s huge and it’s really sad. If Bridget has done
anything to change that, and make people think it’s alright to muck
up, it’s alright not to be perfect, it’s alright to be fat, it’s
alright to sometimes say the wrong thing, as long as you’re kind and
you can laugh along with your friends.’
She said that the problem was so ingrained that it was filtering down to
She added: ‘I’ve yet to meet a woman who does not obsess about her
weight. There might be some, but I think we’ve looked at too many
‘With the children aged seven saying “I’m fat,”, it’s really
Fielding, from West Yorkshire, started her career as a newspaper
journalist and Bridget Jones’s Diary began its life as an anonymous
column in The Independent in 1995.
Her latest novel, Bridget Jones:
Mad About the Boy, tells the story of Bridget as an older woman who
is widowed and decides to get on the dating scene again.
Fielding said she thought most people were meeting online now rather
than in person, adding: ‘It’s no longer a sign of desperation.’