Our Inspirational Women: Scarlett O’Hara

To celebrate WOM4N, we asked several of our authors and staff to share their favourite female characters from the 4th Estate bookshelves. Here, Katherine Heiny, author of the forthcoming ‘Single, Carefree, Mellow‘ explains why she relates to one of fiction’s most famous heroines…

‘She’s a murderer — but that’s not why I’m in awe of her.

She’s a rebel and a feminist and courageous and resourceful — but that’s not why I admire her.

She’s charming and seductive and irresistible to men — but that’s not why I want to be like her. (Well, that’s not the whole reason, anyway.)

She’s vain and selfish and manipulative — but that’s not why she fascinates me.

The best thing about her is that she gets me. I know that’s a strange thing to say about a fictional character, but it’s true. She spends hours (yes, plural) choosing her outfits and she’s bored when the conversation turns to politics and she only does volunteer work because her mother makes her. She understands that pregnancy ruins your waistline and she can’t resist reading other people’s mail and she’s critical of the President’s facial hair. She feels unrequited love more keenly than any other character in literature, and she thinks the worst thing about an economic downturn is the lack of real cream in her coffee and, honestly, who can’t relate to all that?

Sometimes I worry that the term “curvy jeans” is really just industry code for “fat pants” or I spend half an hour flirting with the dishwasher repairman, and then I wonder if maybe I’m not a serious writer. Would Joan Didion do that? Willa Cather? Probably not. But Scarlett O’Hara would, and that’s more than good enough for me.’


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