49 thoughts on “Writers Who Need Movies Made About Them

  1. Christine de Pisan (1365-1434) also had a fascinating life and earned her living by her pen. She was quite famous in her day ….

    1. Yes! I was coming to day this.

      She was extremely influential in her day. The Royal Court in England was familiar with her, and there’s hints that the Duchess of Lancaster and her famous brother-in-law Chaucer, read her works.

      We definitely need to get much more familiar with her.

      1. Oh look, there she is! Dunno how I missed that. (But she did earn her living before Aphra Benn.)

  2. Ooh, I like the earlier suggestion of Gaskell.

    Lucy Maud Montgomery, Agatha Christie, Evelyn Waugh, Nancy Mitford… There’s so many and we really do just see the same few over and over.

      1. What’s a good one to start with? I’ve seen the Doctor Who, and a million adaptations, but nothing actually about her. :)

        1. Agatha in 1979 starring Vanessa Redgrave as Christie has good actors & production values. Didn’t thrill me, but I’m not a fan of her or her work. YMMV!

        1. Finally enough, Waugh’s wide was also an Evelyn. Apparently friends referred to them as the he-Evelyn and the she-Evelyn.

      1. I know that, he’s one of my favorite authors. Nowhere on here does it say only women to suggest, and in the opening paragraph Oscar Wilde, Shelley, and Byron were mentioned so I thought I’d give him a nod.

      2. I wasn’t aware that the request was gender-specific. The title says “authors,” not “women authors.”

        And in that vein, I’d nominate Samuel Butler, who wrote Erewhon and Ernest Pontifex, or The Way of All Flesh. It would be interesting to see how his cynicism regarding religion developed.

  3. I’d so love to see a movie or show about Alcott’s life in the Fruitlands.

    As for other female writers, Murasaki Shikibu hands down. Catherine Beecher, Margaret Fuller and Phyllis Wheatley as well.

    1. I’ll give a hearty third to having a movie, or even better, an entire series dedicated to Lady Murasaki. She had some contemporary women that wrote too… So it definitely needs to be a series. Lol (And the costuming, hopefully, would send me into orgasmic fits).

      Overall, I’d love to see some non-European female writers featured in series, TV shows, or short series.

      A girl can dream, can’t she? Or start writing. 💖

      1. I fully admit this list was inspired by the latest Bronte sisters flick, so I fell back on my standard English literature canon. But that doesn’t mean I won’t have a part two. Just look at the preface to this article — we’ve had A LOT of articles about actual historical people that deserve movies, & we try to get around in time & geography :)

    2. Murasaki Shikibu, forgive my ignorance, but wasn’t she the writer of the Tale of Genji. I loved it.

  4. I second Elizabeth Gaskell, plus Margaret Oliphant. She was a prolific writer of popular fiction, more than 120 works, who supported herself and her children entirely by her writing. Like so many Victorians, she lived with much sorrow from the deaths of several children.

  5. Oh, Margery, Margery, Margery…

    I’ve spent more time wrestling with Margery Kempe than I care to think about. Read Margery. Written Margery. Taught Margery. Had a long interesting chat with Karma Lochrie about Margery…

    I admit, I’m of the camp that thinks that Margery was a bit of a crank. Narcissistic Personality Disorder.Attention-seeking. Religious expression was really her only outlet, and boy, did she use it! I knew women just like her in the religious tradition I grew up in- I recognized her quickly. She must have been… well, this is a woman so obnoxious, that once, on a pilgrimage, her traveling companions (i.e.tour group) got up and snuck off without her, abandoning her in the middle of nowhere. Imagine their ‘joy’ when she caught up with them again.

    Which is not to say that she wouldn’t make a terrific movie. The various threads of feminism and sex and womens’ lives and religion and mysticism would make for a fascinating narrative!

    1. Agreed. I studied Kempe in college, and found her fascinating. I don’t think I would have enjoyed her company, but a protagonist doesn’t have to be likable to be interesting, informative, and powerful.

    2. I’ve not heard of her so these tidbits are wonderful!

      Men that have a whole plethora of flaws still get attention centuries later. Why shouldn’t women too? In fact, those flaws you describe make me more anxious to learn about her, not less.

      Although like Sarah, I’m not terribly interested in actually befriending someone like that. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right?! 😂

    3. Yep, she’s super complicated – which just makes her all that much more interesting fodder for a film :-) There’s so many different ways the story could go & still have a reasonable basis in historical fact while also being relevant to today’s audience. That’s totally why she’s on my personal shortlist for if I ever have time to write my own screenplays!

  6. How about Heloise, the 12th Century young soman who had an affair with her handsome and renown philosopher-tutor Abelard. He is subsequently castrated by her furious Canon uncle/guardian. They both end up in religious orders and begin what is perhaps the most famous (and beautiful) series of love letters ever written. Heloise basically brings Abelard out of the depths of depression through her love and support, and they both go on to become leaders of their respective monastery and nunnery and respected and beloved throughout history, though tragically forever physically separated.

    1. Stealing Heaven was a pretty decent biography of her, based on the Marion Meade novel. Though I haven’t seen the film in 20 years, long before I knew about production quality and historical accuracy, and it was made in the 1980s if I recall.

      1. There’s also another book about Heloise that I read and enjoyed – The Sharp Hook of Love by Sherry Jones – it’s historical fiction but it’s pretty good

  7. It actually surprises me that there hasn’t been a miniseries or film about Alcott’s life yet. Seems like she’s a good candidate for one.

  8. Kate Chopin and Charlotte Perkins Gilman would also both be really good candidates. If they’ve been covered already, I’m not aware of it.

  9. We definitely need an Aphra Behn film/series. She’s also credited with writing the first abolitionist novel. ‘Oroonoko.’ Karen Eterovich wrote and performs a one-woman play about Behn, ‘Love Armed’. http://www.lovearmd.com/karen.html If not a straight-up bio, there’s a mystery novel set in the Restoration era with Behn as crime-solver (with Nell Gwyn as a side-kick) ‘Invitation to a Funeral’ by Molly Brown that would be a good basis for a film.

  10. Excellent suggestions all of them. Mary Wollstonecraft would top my wish list. Aphra Behn is crying out for a bio/pic. The lives of Mary Ann Evans or for that matter Elizabeth Gaskell are probably best suited to TV as the demands of the film industry would necessitate ramping up the drama of their lives far too much.
    I hope that at some time you will also do a list of women artists who deserve films/TV series made about them.

  11. There are quite a few pre-1900 Victorian women adventurers who are movie-ready. They could be a category all of their own, but many wrote and published extensively. Not a boring word to be had! I’d narrow it down to two: Isabella Bird, who traveled all over the Rocky Mountains in the 1870s, alone or in the company of a one-eyed desperado named Rocky Mountain Jim. All very proper, of course. She also traveled in Asia, mostly on her own. The other would be Mary Kingsley, who traveled Africa in the 1890s, paddled her own canoe and once whacked a crocodile in the nose to keep him from coming aboard. Trust me, wonderful movies could be made of their travels.

    1. Our daughter’s middle name is Bird after Isabella! I’d love to see a movie about her.

      1. Really … I’m happy to meet another Isabella fan! Cheers to you and your daughter.

  12. Jean Rhys! The costume range would be fantastic as her life spans from the early 20th to the 70s, plus she spent her adulthood in Paris during the Twenties working as a mannequin and artists’ model. She was forgotten for a longtime but in the 1960s she wrote a version of Jane Eyre but through the eyes of Bertha Mason. I think they made a film about that story, but not about its author!

  13. Mary Chesnut makes my list – even though her diary is one of the most familiar of the Civil War, her ability to show up at the important points of the war, and how she grappled with how it affected her life, and those in her social circle, could be interesting.

    Plus I love how bitchy she and Varina Davis get.

    And what about Edith Wharton?

  14. I’d like to add a less known authoress (especially outside the Midwest) — Mari Sandoz.

    Her biography of Crazy Horse is absolutely amazing! Mari grew up on a farm in western Nebraska, very close to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. She knew and spoke with contemporaries of Crazy Horse (which is what places her biography head and shoulders above others). In addition, the Lakota and Cheyenne people feature prominently in her stories and her enormous respect for the First Nations really shines through her work. She wrote both fiction and non-fiction and her own story is both typical of the Midwest but not typical too. She really carved her own path out which is never easy.

    Willa Cather would be another I’d suggest. But I would really like people to see the amazing way Mari created a life for herself, became a writer, and how she used English in her stories. She really was something else.

  15. I would love to see the life of Pauline Hopkins, an African American vocalist, editor, reporter, playwright, and novelist during the late 19th and early 20th century. I would also love to see her work adapted for screen, particularly Of One Blood (going back to the earlier conversation as to why historic dramas are so white, there were nonwhite fiction writers before the 1920’s, people).
    Read about her here: http://www.paulinehopkinssociety.org/biography/

  16. I’d watch any of these, and I love the many suggestions too. Add to that, Hildegarde of Bingen was a mystic, writer, composer (a little like Julian of Norwich in some respects) except she also ran an abbey – I think of her as an early prototype female CEO running a large business, who also happened to be amazingly creative. There’s a great story about her resisting the urge to write because she felt it wasn’t humble enough, until she actually became physically sick from the desire to do it. What did people think of the PL Travers biopic, Saving Mr Banks? I enjoyed many aspects of it, and thought the early life scenes were beautifully done, but the end was too Disneyfied. PL Travers hated that version of Mary Poppins to the end of her days, and I don’t blame her. I believe they’re making a new version now, with Emily Blunt as Mary. Could be interesting if they capture the mesmerizing edge of menace behind all the Mary Poppins stories; plus we should have some great Edwardian costuming coming up!

  17. How about Alexandre Dumas? It might be interesting to explore the racial aspect.

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