Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Lecture at the Mount

by · August 8, 2012

Katie Milano and Barbara Taylor Bradford

When I first heard about the Barbara Taylor Bradford lecture, I was very interested in attending. As a young writer who spends hours agonizing over word choice in a five-page research paper, anyone who can write 27 novels is incredibly fascinating… and intimidating. Add in her numerous honors, such as being inducted into the Writers Hall of Fame of America, and being awarded an Order of British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II, and the intimidation factor is through the roof.

When I met Barbara Taylor Bradford on April 18th, I was very happy to see that all my nerves were unnecessary. The second I walked into the Villa, she warmly greeted me and asked how I was. When she learned I was writing a blog post on the lecture, she was very interested in the blog and what I’ve been writing in classes. She then took me by the arm, introduced me to her husband, Robert Bradford, and got me a drink. The woman whose biography made me exhausted just reading it was very relaxed and personable.

During the lecture, more of her personality came out. Father Kevin introduced Barbara Taylor Bradford and called this lecture a “celebration of storytelling.” This title was very fitting, as the entire lecture was one big story being told. While Mrs. Bradford’s lecture was very interesting, I think her lecture style stood out just as much.

Telling a story is an art; it’s more than just a chronological listing of events. Mrs. Bradford shared her life through short stories that told the facts about her life, but also gave it depth and feeling. Her biography states she began as a typist for the Yorkshire Evening Post, but as Mrs. Bradford began talking about sneaking home ruined work so her supervisors wouldn’t find it, or writing her own news reports and slipping them into the pile with the other journalists’ work, the story comes out.

I think that’s a good way to look at things in general, to focus on making the story and let the details fall into place. Mrs. Bradford didn’t just accept her entry-level job as a typist, she made herself a journalist. She didn’t wait for the story, she made it.

Katie Milano, class of 2012, is a public relations major from New Windsor, NY.