As we continue to celebrate the brilliant female authors out there, we come to my next entry.
3 – Jackie Collins
With a career spanning over 40 years, Jackie Collins was a true storyteller. Her first novel was published in 1968, to much criticism and distaste. Here was a female author who did not shy away from talking openly about sex, drugs, booze and cussing. A truly authentic voice in a world that was not ready to embrace her brilliance.
For me, I became aware of Jackie Collins as a teenager, seeing her novels on my Mum’s book shelf, curious I asked questions and received the most appropriate of answers. One thing I remember hearing is that the lead character was a woman, something I found fascinating. As an adult I decided to venture into the world Collins created and meet the brassy, ballsy women she so lovingly created.
I am so happy I did. For the first time as a reader I found a heroine who wasn’t perfect, a character who knew what she wanted and would be damn sure to get it. The character of Lucky Santangelo really stayed with me, I loved how in charge of her life she was, how determined to prove herself in a man’s world and how she owned her sexuality. Unlike the heroines of Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, here was a female character who would not be defined by a man. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the female characters from classic literature and love them in the context of their era but Collins created a new generation of female characters that reflected the attitudes of society at the time and today.
As a reader I want my heroine to be fierce, loyal, confident and good hearted. Collins never failed to deliver in her work, always making the reader root for their heroine. Because that is something Collins did so brilliantly, she created a series of works that in themselves have become classics. Characters that are far from perfect but brilliant all the same.
Here we have an author who impacted the literary world by representing women in their own way. Her style and sass were beacons of identity for female characters that would make their own way in a man’s world.