Helen Fielding at work on a third Bridget Jones book
by Nick Davies
The Guardian’s Alison Flood reports that after a thirteen-year hiatus, Helen Fielding is bringing back her popular Bridget Jones character for a second sequel to Bridget Jones’s Diary, set in present-day London.
Fielding made the announcement on the BBC’s Woman’s Hour radio show, speaking about the difficulty of feeling that she had “lost [her] voice in terms of Bridget” after the success of the first book, feeling self-conscious that so many people would pick up the sequel. She enthuses that now that she’s been back in London for a few years, she’s excited to have new material, partly thanks to technology that didn’t exist (or wasn’t as prevalent) when she first wrote the column for the Independent that spawned two books in 1996 and 1999. Texting and Twitter have become a fact of life, and the latter will now be part of the tally that accompanies each diary entry—rather than Bridget’s weight, caloric intake, etc., Fielding says, “It’s more like, ‘number of Twitter followers: naught. Still no followers.’”
Fielding was cagey about some of the details of the new book, declining to answer whether Jones’ onetime paramours Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver will appear, though she does concede that “they’ll still be presences in the book.” She and publisher Jonathan Cape also haven’t revealed whether Bridget will have aged in real time since the previous books; the publisher only said that the next installment “explores a different phase in Bridget’s life.” The Guardian quotes novelist India Knight as saying that she hopes Fielding will allow her protagonist to have aged:
It would be great to have commercial women’s fiction narrated by somebody older… I love the idea of Bridget Jones, broken and lonely two divorces later, with a bottle of red wine, blogging insanely… I’d like to see her with troublesome teenage children, but the timing probably wouldn’t work out. So I’d like to see her as a much older mother. I’d like more darkness. [Fielding is] such a good comic writer, she would do it so well, make it bittersweet, dark but funny. I hope Bridget’s not some awful giddy cougar but I think that’s unlikely.
In addition to the new book, Fielding is working on a Bridget Jones musical, and a third film that is not based on any of the novels.
Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.