Jessie Burton

Literary Birthday – 17 August – Jessie Burton

Happy Birthday, Jessie Burton, born 17 August 1982.


  1. Writing is a leap of faith. But how wonderful that the person you’re putting faith in is yourself.
  2. There’s a romance about writing that just won’t go away. We have to drink fresh coffee in our turrets, we have to write at dusk to the sound of a trilling blackbird, in a kimono. I wrote The Miniaturist at any hour of the day, in offices, on the train, in theatre dressing rooms. I wrote The Muse looking like someone had just dragged me backwards through a bush, and I mainly ate crisps. If you wait for a room of your own, you’re going to be waiting a long time. Some people need silence, some people need noise. I just needed the words on the page.
  3. Every woman is the architect of her own fortune.
  4. Like most artists, everything I produced was connected to who I was – and so I suffered according to how my work was received. The idea that anyone might be able to detach their personal value from their public output was revolutionary.
  5. Do not write for the market and do not underestimate the power of personal passion.
  6. Here’s the paradox: you will not be able to truly write your book unless you have written your book. GET. IT. OUT. YOUR. HEAD. Everything will probably change later – that’s fine. At this stage, accept deep imperfection.
  7. The brain, when you read silently, often corrects things for you. It’s only when you hear the rhythm of your sentences aloud, does your choice of words fall, or clear the hurdle.
  8. A lifetime isn’t enough to know how a person will behave.
  9. For me, writing my first novel was an act of hope. I wanted something in my life to change. I wanted to write, and I wanted to be published. I wanted to see if I could make it work. But now I know that it was the act of writing, not being published, that saved me.
  10. Growing older does not seem to make you more certain. It simply presents you with more reasons for doubt.

Jessie Burton is an English author and actress. She has published two novels, The Miniaturist  and  The Muse. The Confession, publishes September 2019.  Read more here: Jessie Burton: My Writing Tips.

Source for image: Benjamin Turner Photography, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 16th August 2017