Questions with Helen Fielding
| The Social - October 25, 2013
Photo credit: Sarah Robinson/The Social
Q: Whatís on your bedside table right now?
A: There is a DVD with the second season of Girls on it and a MacBook Air. I watch a little
bit every morning to make me laugh. I love it.
Q: Rarely do
fans rally behind the film adaptation of their most beloved novels but
yours certainly did - even though you cast a Texan [Zellweger] to play
their heroine. Now, you helped adapt the screenplay. How much anxiety
did that cause you?
A: I think with the first movie there were a lot of people involved who
were very close to the world of Bridget. And they were all very
passionate and we all knew each other very well. It came out of all of
that. We thought it was going to be terrible! And then at the first
screening, people suddenly started laughing. So thereís something
about that energy that made it work. Team effort.
Q: I read that
youíre most influenced by the work of 19th century novelists,
including Thomas Hardy and Edith Wharton, ďwhere there wasnít the
differentiation between a page-turner and a literary novel.Ē Do you
feel that authors today have to choose between the two?
A: I donít think they do. I just think that somehow around the time of
Virginia Woolf there was a sense that to be really literary you had to
write the sort of paragraphs that the reader reads several times and
doesnít realize that theyíre repeatedly reading it, you know? And I
think in the 19th century a lot of novels were written as newspaper
columns almost, so there has to be the sense of wanting to know what
happens next. But at the same time, it comes from a place of truth. And
itís a slice of life. And thatís my favourite sort of book. Throw in
a happy ending, too.
Q: I also read
that your biggest pleasure is travel. Is there a destination you still
havenít been to that youíre especially excited to see?
A: Yes! There are loads of places I havenít been yet. I want to go to
Machu Picchu and I want to go up on the train. I want to go to Vietnam.
And I liked to go back to Burma because I went there years and years ago
and now itís opened up a little more to tourists. Also, Brazil.
Thereís a literary festival there called Paraty, which apparently is
great. I really want to go to Brazil. And I want to go to Mauritius.
Iíd also like to go back to Zanzibar, which I went to years and years
ago. I want to go to the Serengeti. Iíve also never been to South
Africa and some parts of India. Iíd also like to go back to Central
America and do a little bit more scuba there. Theyíve got some really
good cliffs for diving, underwater cliffs. But I havenít been too much
of South America, either. Iíve never been to Chile. So I would like to
go there. And I really want to go to Cartagena, though I think it might
be a bit dangerous with the whole drug thing. But I would love to go
there, anyway. Thereís that whole movie, Ro--
Q: Romancing the Stone! Oh my God that is one of my favourite movies! And sorry for
A: And theyíve got a literary festival there, too! You could plan a
whole year of travel based solely on literary festivals. Thereís one
in Mauritius, thereís one in Brazil and thereís one in Cartagena.
Thereís one practically everywhere. Sorry, was that all a bit long?
Q: Uh no. That was amazing. Okay, last one. You used to write
restaurant reviews so Iím hoping you can help me with this last one: I
always a pick a thematic wine and cheese for our Social Chapter book
picks. For Mad about The Boy, Iím thinking I have to go with a
Chardonnay and maybe a gooey brie of some sort. Agree or disagree?
A: Well, crucially Roxter, the younger man in the book, is very, very
keen on food indeed. So I think he would probably choose ham hock for
his food, something a bit more solid than cheese. And probably a bottle
of red wine. And Bridget would probably go along with it.
Before joining the The Socialís team as
their Digital Correspondent, Jessica Allen was a writer for Macleanís.
And before that she worked at an Italian restaurant. She likes writing
about everything from food and film to science and ancient history. Past
obsessions include Moby Dick and Jason Bourne. (And also the movie
Gladiator, but she doesnít want to talk about it.)