Broadcaster, journalist and director of Red Nose Day, Emma Freud tells us about the books that played an important part in her life.
I must have read this at least four times a year from the age of nine. Even now it elicits a visceral response in me—Jill’s joy in the simple pleasures of grooming her pony until he “shone like a conker” and the hard work she puts into becoming a star of the local gymkhana was magical to me.
I grew up in a noisy household, sharing a room with my four siblings, so I loved escaping into Jill’s very different life. I read all nine books in the series—as Jill grew up, so did I.
Esther and I are first cousins but we didn’t meet and become friends until I was about 19 because our fathers (Clement and Lucian) had fallen out as adults. While our family history wasn’t discussed in our home, perhaps because so much of it was painful, Esther had a different experience and didn’t feel the need to shy away from the extraordinary stories of our past in Germany.
Instead she explores them, quietly scratching away at the surface of things to reveal the emotional truth beneath. She’s opened my eyes.
I confess that I don’t find a lot of time for reading, so I enjoy the quick fix of poetry. I found Bilston on Twitter, and what he communicates is what I dream every poetry book could deliver: a different lens on life; a witty way of looking at what I already know and an introduction to what I don’t, which always leaves me wanting more.
Feature image via filmclub.org
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