Fielding Calls

A reporter’s first interview—with Helen Fielding

Lizzie Skurnick
Oct 18, 2013 · 12 min read

I took the plot from ‘Pride and Prejudice’—stole it, as it has been very well market-researched over a number of centuries.

If we women can’t laugh at ourselves, and have comic characters without having a panic attack, then we haven’t got very far.

HF: Bridget’s certainly haunted. She has a sort of perpetual twenty-four-hour mascara advert running in the back of her head—you know, the idea of whizzing from the gym to the boardroom to the immaculate dinner party for twelve that she’s cooked to wild, simultaneous orgasm with the perfect man.

My first book was about the Third World [Cause Celeb]; it was set in a refugee camp. But nobody bought that one.

But in fact there’s really good reasons why women would be single in their thirties. They’ve got economic power now, which they didn’t have a hundred years ago, or whenever the expression spinster was coined. They’re not going to compromise if they’ve got a job and their own financial independence and a really great bunch of friends.

LS: Where would you place yourself in the British canon? HF: What cannon? I thought we’d stopped using those with nuclear war.

I have this vision that keeps on popping up, of me in these huge gold spectacles and lip-liner, living in one of those sorts of low-style condominiums, with deep white shag pile carpets, bulbous coffee tables, sort of rustily shouting, “Where’s my stretch limo?”

There was a very formal letter to the Independent saying, “Dear Sirs: I would quite like to shag Bridget Jones. Could you let me have her phone number, please? ”

If I knew so many people were going to read it, I probably wouldn’t have written it—or been quite so cheeky.

There is some of her in me, otherwise I couldn’t write it. But there’s also probably a lot of her in other people. The other thing I sometimes say is that I don’t drink or smoke and I’m a virgin, which is true.

Open Ticket

Essays. Fiction. Memoir. Sundries. Driving across the country. Meeting Truman Capote. Late-night radio, without the static.

Thanks to Kate Lee.

    Lizzie Skurnick

    Written by

    Lizzie Skurnick is the author of "Shelf Discovery" and "That Should Be a Word." She writes for Times, NPR, Elle, the Daily Beast and many other outlets.

    Open Ticket

    Essays. Fiction. Memoir. Sundries. Driving across the country. Meeting Truman Capote. Late-night radio, without the static.