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Review: Jill Liddington talks about the diaries of Anne Lister at Farsley Literature Festival

By Diane Law

On Thursday, 10 November I joined an audience of more than 50 people at Farsley Constitutional to listen to Jill Liddington discussing ‘Female Fortune’, her book about the Diaries of Anne Lister (1833-36).

This is the book which inspired Sally Wainwright to create the TV series Gentleman Jack and to the delight of Jill was the book she chose to take with her when she was a guest on Desert Island Discs.

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What a great night, highly informative and interesting, I could have listened all night.

Jill explained that during her life, Anne Lister wrote a diary running to over five million words.

It was particularly insightful to see an extract of Anne’s diary, which you can see from the image above was written in a secret code and difficult to decipher until John Lister unlocked the code some time between 1887 and 1892. 

The event was one of many taking place as part of ‘Ink Slingers’, the first Farsley Literature Festival organised by Truman Books and Trouble at Mill Events, supported by Sunny Bank Mills and Leeds Libraries.

Let us hope The Farsley Literature Festival becomes an annual event. 

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