Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Belle de Jour Leaves England for Ireland

The always fabulous Belle de Jour has left England for the beautiful mountains of Ireland, having finished a new manuscript that we fans hope to have in our hot little hands some time next year!

Last year, Belle step out from behind her famous pen name and revealed her identity. She is Brooke Magnanti, formerly of Bristol, England, who is a noted scientist whose specialist areas are developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology. She has a PhD in informatics, epidemiology and forensic science and had worked at the Bristol Initiative for Research of Child Health as part of a team that researched the potential effects on babies of their mothers' exposure to toxic chemicals.

But, from 2003 to late 2004, Brooke worked as a high-class call girl for a London escort service. She has written an award-winning blog and several bestselling books based on her experiences as a high-end call-girl in the sex industry. Her writing also formed the basis of the TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, now in its third season on Showtime, and starring Billie Piper in the title role of “Belle.”

Recently, Brooke took a hiatus from penning new entries for her award-winning blog (where she says simply, “Belle de Jour is the pen name of Brooke Magnanti, a UK-based writer and science researcher. Interests: whisky, taphonomy, PGP encryption).

Brooke’s important cancer research project was completed over the summer. Sadly in October, Brooke announced that she was leaving the field of science because of the lack of available research funding in the U.K. She reported on Twitter that her best friend had been forced to leave England for a science job in the U.S.

“I’m leaving science the end of Oct & been working for free since April,” she said, explaining a few days later that, “there are so few jobs going I felt bad taking one from someone else when I could get on as a writer.”

Quite an understatement for this award-winning author!

On Nov. 8, Brooke announced again on Twitter that she was leaving England “for good,” and was packing to leave the following day.

“In new home, all the heating comes from the fire and we can see the country’s highest mountain from the bedroom window. Wicked,” she updated fans on Nov. 14.

She may be a “former cancer researcher” as she now says, but happily for we fans she has already dispatched her latest book to her publisher. Brooke has declined to discuss its content, saying only, “Good things come to those who wait.”

Last Sunday, an interview with Brooke appeared in the London Sunday Times, following the Twitter format of 140 characters per question and answer. As you will see, Brooke’s famous wit and trademark humor continues to delight. The “Witter” view appears in its entirety below:

London Sunday Times
Witter: Brooke Magnanti
Interviewer: Mark Edmonds

The world's fastest interview. 140 characters max per answer. Brooke Magnanti, author-turned-science researcher, aka Belle de Jour, call-girl blogger.

“Witter: What's happening?

BM: Very little. Trying to check in online for a Ryanair flight to Dublin.

Witter: Is Ryanair any good for joining the Mile High Club

BM: As if you have to ask! Wouldn't choose a low cost carrier though. And try to get the handicap-access loo – more room, bigger mirrors.

Wittter: Any particular airline?

BM: Not really. What suits me might not suit everyone. It's more a case study than a cross-sectional population survey.

Witter: Ah yes. I was hoping we'd move on to your academic work, not least epidemiology. Any juicy cohort studies you can tickle me with?

BM: All a bit hush-hush at the moment. Just saying if I had kids, I'd buy organic fruit and veg.

Witter: Do you ever regret coming out as Belle de Jour?

BM: No. Whoever got to the end of life thinking: “Well I wish I had more regrets”?

Witter: If you'd never written the blog, nobody would have known. Did you subconsciously want it to end?

BM: If I'd wanted to be found, I'd have made finding me easier. The ex wanted his payday. It is what it is.

Witter: Apart from the £200 an hour, Belle de Jour was pretty lucrative. The TV/film rights alone should keep you in lingerie for years.

BM: The myth that writing is lucrative needs to die. The average UK writer earns £5k. That's like half a Myla thong.

Witter: Your blog seems relatively dormant. Has the lack of sexual revelation stopped traffic?

BM: My traffic's fine thanks. What happened to your interview? Has the lack of sexual revelation stopped interest?

Witter: But you don't do it much. The blog, that is. Why not?

BM: Personal blogs are so over. It's all right-wing nuts and smug yummy mummies doing it now.

Witter: Do you ever think you'll be a yummy mummy?

BM: Apparently I look quite wretched in real life, so unlikely. My partner wants a litter of terminators but I claim no responsibility for this.

Witter: Is he cool about your past? What does he do for a living?

BM: He's cool in every sense. After all, what we do for a living is so little of who we really are (in other words, I'm not telling).”

Brooke’s books are Belle de Jour’s Guide to Men, 2009; Belle’s Best Bits, 2009; The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl, September 2005; The Further Adventures of a London Call Girl, May 2007; and Playing the Game, June 2009. There is not a ringer in the bunch – trust me! You can find her books at the U.K.’s largest independent bookseller, Waterstones.

— The Curator

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