Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney are the authors of A Secret Sisterhood: The hidden friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf, with a foreword by Margaret Atwood. (The title of the American edition is A Secret Sisterhood: The literary friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf.)
Emma and Emily became friends almost two decades ago, at a time when they were both living in rural Japan – working as English teachers by day, and scribbling stories in secret by night.
In the years since then, they’ve come to rely on each other’s support, celebrating writerly successes together and providing a shoulder to cry on when the going got tough.
This started them wondering about the collaborations between their literary forebears.
Several male writing friendships have become the stuff of legend: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, for instance, Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
But did Jane Austen have a fellow writer with whom she shared her ideas? What about Mary Shelley, Emily Dickinson, or Virginia Woolf?
Since 2014, Something Rhymed has been profiling different pairs of female writer pals – adding a celebratory note to today’s resurgent feminist conversation.
How can I get involved?
When we began this blog in January 2014, we imagined that it would be a year-long web project. We never anticipated where it would take us. Writing for Something Rhymed has been a wonderful experience, and we have been delighted to forge so many new friendships of our own with readers all over the world.
It’s always been important to us that Something Rhymed remains an advert-free, not-for-profit blog. We run this site in our spare time and it has become increasingly tricky to find enough hours in the day to keep generating new content, in addition to writing our books, teaching, journalism and doing events.
Now that we are both embarking on new writing projects, we have begun to turn our minds to the future of Something Rhymed. And, as such, we’d love to hear from you.
Open call for submissions:
Would you like to write for Something Rhymed? If so, please send a short pitch via our Contact Us page, letting us know who you are and what you would like to write about.
In the past, articles on Something Rhymed have included:
- Posts that profile the friendship of a well-known or unjustly forgotten, usually historical, female literary pair – 500 to 800 words. (For examples of former profile posts, please click on the links on this page and scroll down to the earliest post listed under each link.)
- Posts that deal more generally with the theme of female literary friendship – 500 to 800 words. (See this, this and this example but we’d also be open to all sorts of new approaches.)
- ‘Guest posts’ that profile a writer’s own literary friendship – 500 to 650 words. (For examples of former guest posts, please click on the links on this page.)
Please note that if you would like to send us a pitch for a guest post, we ask that you do this as part of a pitch for two articles – one of which should not be about your own literary friendship.
We are open to other ideas too, as long as they fall within the general theme of female literary friendship.
Editorial / administrative volunteers:
We’re also looking for people who might be interested in volunteering to help out with the editorial and administrative side of things. Over the years we’ve been running Something Rhymed, as well as writing blog posts ourselves we have solicited and edited guest posts from other writers, organised site logistics (such as timings of posts, image rights, design issues), publicised posts on social media, managed contact lists etc.
Doing these kinds of things has helped us to develop valuable skills while also building our profiles and expanding our literary contacts. We’d love now to give some of these opportunities to others who might find them similarly helpful. If you are interested in helping out with editorial and admin, please do get in touch with us via our Contact Us page.
We’ll look forward to hearing from anyone with ideas for submissions and / or interested in volunteering with editorial and / or admin.
We’re really hoping that in this way we can keep building the Something Rhymed community, and expand the site as a resource for anyone who values female literary friendship.
Joining in the conversation:
As ever, we’re continuing to look for literary pairings to profile on this site, so if you know of any friendships between famous female authors, do please get in touch.
We love to get your comments on our posts, here on this website or on our Facebook page. Or you can tweet using the hashtag #SomethingRhymed.
Why ‘Something Rhymed’?
The phrase comes from the title of a poem by Jackie Kay, in which she celebrates her friendship with the novelist Ali Smith. Having always felt that something rhymed between us, we’re now learning from the rhymes and rhythms of your friendships, and those of our literary heroines too.