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Contrarians

Incredible women: how to live and love – Anne Sebba, Author & Historian

About This Episode

Award-winning author, biographer and journalist Anne Sebba joins Michael to discuss the challenges of life under lockdown. The author of ‘That Woman’ and ‘Les Parisiennes’, draws lessons for today from the experiences of women in 1940s occupied Paris, and explains her passion for revisiting untold stories. She details her own career, why she believes you have to learn to live alone, and also why she keeps a keen eye on the future and what history can tell us about the human condition.

Anne Sebba

Anne Sebba is a biographer, lecturer, journalist and former Reuters foreign correspondent. She has written 10 critically-acclaimed books of non-fiction, mostly about iconic women who enjoyed using power and influence in different ways such as Enid Bagnold, Mother Teresa, Laura Ashley and Jennie Churchill, as well as her 2016 book Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s. Her biography, That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, quickly became a bestseller on publication in 2011.

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Lockdown List

What is a book that has changed your life?

Claire Tomalin’s biography of Nellie Ternan, The Invisible Woman because it revealed the importance to a great man of a hitherto unknown woman.

What are you watching in lockdown?

Mrs America… a brilliant evocation of American politics in the 60s a decade after the execution of the Rosenbergs, but still unable to treat women as equal

In one sentence, describe your new normal.

A one-hour bike ride at 7am through Richmond park with no cars! Magic

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My grandchildren because they focus me on the importance of the future.

What is your best tip for life?

You have to be able to live alone before you can live with other people

Top 5 lockdown tracks

Chopin – Cello Sonata

Peter Skellern – Still Magic and Love is the Sweetest Thing

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel

Roberta Flack – Killing Me Softly

Strauss Four – Last Songs (sung by Renee Fleming)

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