• From Anne’s diary, 9th August 1818 (age 28)

    Mrs Page began talking about my getting married. Told me I had a good figure, good complexion, held myself well & was, she thought, good-tempered. That I should be good-looking if I dressed my hair with bows, as they do now, and with curls, etc. She is a vulgar, good sort of woman, fond of giving her opinions and advice. I took it all well, was amused, led her on & praised her &, I daresay, came off with flying colours.

Secret Diaries Past & Present

In the form of a Q&A, this book compares and contrasts the diaries and lives of 19th century lesbian diarist Anne Lister and modern-day lesbian diarist Natasha Holme.

Like Anne Lister two hundred years before her, Natasha wrote her diaries in a secret code, based on the Greek alphabet. The book contains photographs of Anne’s and Natasha’s encoded diaries. It is divided into sections such as …

  • Early sexuality
  • The mentality behind keeping a detailed diary
  • Encoding
  • Obsessiveness
  • Christianity

“When I first heard that you have been keeping a diary from a young age and, furthermore, that you had used an esoteric code, I was immediately interested. I was further intrigued by the fact that you are a lesbian and wrote about your sexual life. It seemed to me that a modern parallel could be drawn with Anne Lister, the early 19th century lesbian diarist who had written a great deal about her lesbian sexuality in her journals, couched in a secret code of her own devising. I thought it would be interesting to see how far this hypothesis could be taken and wondered if you would be willing to join me in an exploration of the similarities and differences, as diarists and as lesbians, between yourself and a woman who lived some two hundred years before your time.”

Helena Whitbread

Also by Natasha Holme:

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