Episode 42 - Sara Collins
Photo Credit: Justine Stoddart
One of the most interesting books I read last year was The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins. Frannie was enslaved in Jamaica and brought to London by John Langton, the man who owns her. Although slavery has been outlawed there, she's still not truly free.
Langton gives Frannie to George Benham and his wife, Marguerite, as a gift. She works for the couple as a maid, and the gothic novel begins with her on trial for their murders. Frannie says she couldn't possibly have committed this crime because she loved Madame, which was how she addressed Marguerite. In an effort to spare her life, her attorney asks her to write her life story.
Sara and I sat down to discuss her work this past November at the Miami Book Fair. She said she wanted to counter how historic novels depicted Black women by not portraying Frannie as a sainted, downtrodden victim. Instead, her protagonist is incredibly complex. She's smart, funny and a voracious reader whose morality is a bit murky.
As a backdrop to this, Sara also explores the pseudoscience of the time that questioned whether Black people were fully human. Frannie sees this firsthand in Jamaica as she is forced to help Langton try to prove his racist theories.
- Why she wanted to write about slavery in an unconventional way
- How her former career as an attorney shapes her writing
- The celebrated author whose work she just can't get into despite several attempts
Click here to listen to the episode.
We’ll send a free, signed copy of The Confessions of Frannie Langton to the first listener to tell us classic novel that Sara says helped her to see how she could be center stage in her own life.
If you have won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90s days, you’re ineligible for this contest. Also, if we have ever linked arms and sang Hark the Sound, you’re probably ineligible. ReadMore doesn't have a friends and family plan. But we will always have memories of hanging out in the Southern Part of Heaven.
You can also purchase the book here. Proceeds will benefit the show and the author.