10 writers I’d love to have coffee with – time travel edition!

My previous post on writers I’d love to have coffee with was very popular. My blogger friend Ryan stole my idea and then he also did a time travel edition – which I’m now stealing from him. So here are 10 writers I’d want to meet, if someone invented a time machine. Since most of my favourite writers are actually from the past, this was a difficult choice to make…

Charlotte Brontรซ. I’d travel to Haworth Parsonage (which I’ve visited before, but obviously not in 1847) and we’d go for a walk on the windswept moor while discussing the recent publication of Jane Eyre. Although this time was a relatively happy moment in Charlotte’s life, I would feel sad knowing what the future had in store for herself and her siblings.

H G Wells. The master of science fiction was noted for predicting the future. I love musing upon the future so I think we’d click. We’d meet at the turn of the 20th century and I’d tell him that The Time Machine is one of my favourite books. However, I wouldn’t tell him what a mess the BBC made of The War of the Worlds.

Stella Gibbons. We’d meet in the late 1940s for a cup of tea and a bun in a cheap and cheerful cafรฉ, like so many of her female characters do. I too have a sharp sense of humour so I think we’d have some laughs together. I’d tell her how much I like her post-Cold Comfort Farm novels and that after their reissues, many readers are delighted to discover them.

Virginia Woolf. I’d be intimidated by the prospect of meeting one of the greatest modern writers but I think she’d be fascinating to talk to. We’d have a smart lunch somewhere in London in the 1920s. I probably wouldn’t admit to her that I’ve touched (and, er, sniffed) a leather travel bag which belonged to her and which now sits in the Penguin Random House archive.

Mary Shelley. A super-intelligent and fascinating writer, Shelley would be an amazing person to meet, in between her writing, romantic journeys and tragic life events. I think it would be best to meet in Italy, where she spent a lot of her time. We could have proper Italian coffee and discuss the now legendary circumstances in which she wrote Frankenstein.

Jane Austen. It would be fantastic to see what Jane was really like, both in appearance and behaviour. We’d have a civilised tea at Chawton, Hampshire and talk about books. I’d try not to make some grave error in manners. It would be tempting to tell her how famous her name will become and also that what most people remember about Pride and Prejudice is Mr Darcy’s wet shirt scene.

Harper Lee. A very private person with a reputation as a recluse, merely because she didn’t grant interviews, Harper Lee might be a little reserved about meeting up. If we did, however, we would go to an anonymous New York coffee shop in 1961, the year that To Kill A Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize. I’d be tempted to suggest never to publish Go Set A Watchman

George Orwell. Meeting Eric Arthur Blair would be fascinating, I’m sure. I think we’d have strong coffee someplace full of cigarette smoke. Or perhaps we would have a pint in a poverty-stricken northern town while he researches his book The Road to Wigan Pier. While I really admire Nineteen Eighty-Four, I would be too sad to meet him during the writing of it, as he was very ill.

H P Lovecraft. He has a reputation as weird and lonely with a far-out imagination, so I think we’d get on well. We’d meet in 1930s New England in some sinister old town haunted by eldritch beings older than the universe. Knowing he was to have a relatively short life dominated by poverty and tragedy, I’d also want to tell him how influential his work will be and maybe give him a hug.

Thomas Hardy. Dorset in the 1880s would be the obvious location to meet the author of favourite classics such as Tess of the D’Urbervilles and The Mayor of Casterbridge. We would have afternoon tea at Max Gate, the house he designed. I feel that he would be easier to get on with than some other Victorian writers as he seems unconventional and sympathetic.

Which writers from the past would you like to meet? Do you wish someone would hurry up and invent time travel?

20 thoughts on “10 writers I’d love to have coffee with – time travel edition!”

    1. Oh yes ๐Ÿ™‚ And he would see if you laughed at something he said, then he’d put it in his plays.

  1. This is such a fun post and great idea! Good choices as well and I like how you also described the places you are going to meet the writers at. I would have also liked to meet Hardy, Austen and Bronte.

    For other writers that I would have wanted to meet I first need to get my French and German language skills to a pretty fluent level first in order to ask them all the questions I want and have a deep discussion. Victor Hugo would be somewhere there, along with Balzac and maybe Camus. Insightful minds. I want to, but I think I will be afraid meeting Kafka. Who knows, maybe after my meeting with him I will turn into one of those insects from his short story. I think anything is possible with this man ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the post ๐Ÿ™‚
      Wow yes I’m sure Kafka would be an interesting guy to meet. I agree about the language issue, it would be a little awkward to meet a great author and not be able to have a fluent chat. I would like to have added Zamyatin and Francoise Sagan but I can’t speak Russian and only have a few words of French!

  2. I laughed out loud at several of these and I definitely agree with you on Harper Lee – when it comes to Go Set A Watchman it’s perhaps better to keep it private rather than publish it… I haven’t really thought of authors I’d have coffee with but the first one that comes in my mind is Jodi Picoult as I would love to understand how she develops her books especially since they are mostly controversial. Great post!

    1. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you like the post. I haven’t read any Jodi Picoult, maybe I should remedy this?
      Go Set A Watchman wasn’t exactly a bad read but was so underwhelming compared to her famous and well-loved book.

  3. I’d join you with Mary Shelley and Jane Austen I think!

    If I could drag them into this century I imagine Mary Shelley’s meet up would involve sitting in a graveyard at dusk drinking espresso martini’s and trying to creep each other out while Jane Austen’s would involve afternoon tea in a posh hotel where it would look like the picture of respectability but it would be all salacious gossip and witticisms.

    1. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course, you are welcome on the trip – as soon as time travel is invented ๐Ÿ˜‰

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