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Society events



Society events open to non-members

‘Singing Songs of Sixpence?’ Virginia Woolf, Ethel Smyth and the Languages of Music

Saturday 25 January 2020, 2pm (doors open 1.30pm)
MAL 532, 5th floor, Main Building, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL

The 21st Annual Virginia Woolf Birthday Lecture will be given by Claire Davison, Professeur de littérature moderniste, Institut du monde anglophone, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris. Followed at 3.15pm by a wine reception in the dining-room, Tavistock Hotel, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9EU.

SPECIAL OFFER The event includes a raffle in which the main prize will be a limited-edition copy of the full-length draft of Mrs Dalloway. Published by SP Books, the volume is beautifully hand-bound, with dark green cover and slipcase  and gold lettering on both, including Woolf’s signature. The printrun is 1,000, with each volume numbered by hand. The retail price is £180.

Tickets £20 (members) / £25 (non-members), to include a wine and cake reception following the lecture and a copy of the lecture when printed.
Contact Lynne Newland, Please note that the Tavistock Hotel  is offering 20% off accommodation for Virginia Woolf Society members: ask for details.

Virginia Woolf and Her Early Short Stories

Saturday 4 April 2020, 10.30am–4.30pm
Oriental Club, 11 Stratford Place, London W1C 1ES

A one-day conference, incorporating the 21st Annual General Meeting. Speakers: Dr Sue Roe, Professor Frances Spalding and Sarah Latham Phillips.
Tickets: £35 for VWSGB members/students, £40 for non-members, to include sandwich lunch and coffee.
Contact Sarah Latham Phillips,


Other events

Orlando (a one-woman show)

Tour continues in October and November.

A life-affirming, comedic tale based on Virginia Woolf’s novel from the award-winning Dyad productions, creators of Dalloway, Christmas Gothic, The Time Machine and Austen’s Women.

Orlando: Who is she? Who is he? Who are we? Find out in the tale of an immortal poet, whose gender cannot be pinned down, whose spirit cannot be caged, and whose irreverent, romantic adventures across British history – from the 1500s to the present day – provide a magic realist exploration of human identity; personal, sexual and national. Drawing on a decade’s worth of critically acclaimed theatre-making, Dyad Productions – performer Rebecca Vaughan and writer/director Elton Townend Jones – explore what it means to find our place in the world while remaining utterly true to who we are.

‘Quite simply: it’s astounding’ – Broadway Baby
‘Perfection … Vaughan is simply sublime’ – Huffington Post

Suitable for ages: 10+. Show length: 90 mins approx.

For further information and to book, see the website

Noble Prize (Brussels)

Tuesday 1 October 2019
Passa Porta bookshop, Antoine Dansaertstraat 46, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

The Belgian alternative to the Nobel Prize goes to an important figure in literature; this year it’s Virginia Woolf who’s in the spotlight. This event includes the Woolfotheca, in which Woolfians read an extrat from their favourite Woolf work, which was filmed and recorded in a special room of one’s own.

VWSGB member Steven van der Heyden reads part of ‘Street Haunting’. The recordings will be displayed during the event on 1 October. Virginia Nicholson will attend and accept the prize on behalf of her great-aunt. Readings will also be available on Passa Porta’s YouTube channel.

Reading Ritual in The Waves

Tuesday 15 October 2019, 1–2.30 pm
Founders’ Room, Lucy Cavendish College, Lady Margaret Road, Cambridge CB3 0BU

Talk by Ellie Mitchell. The Waves was variously described by Woolf as a ‘playpoem’, a ‘mystical poetical novel’ and ‘something struggled for’. This talk reads the novel in the light of Woolf’s interest in the anthropologist Jane Harrison’s theories of classical culture, art and ritual.

Free of charge. Everyone welcome. Hosted by Literature Cambridge and Lucy Cavendish College: see the Literature Cambridge website.
For further information, please email:

Between the Acts London Literary Salon

Friday 18 October–Sunday 20 October 2019 (pre-study preparation Tuesday 15 October in London)
No. 4 St Ives, 4 Talland Road, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 2DF

Weekend study in St Ives. The London Literary Salon offers unique discussion-based studies of outstanding works of fiction, philosophy, poetry and drama. We welcome all readers with a curiosity and openness to the insights of others — no academic preparation is necessary.

This study of Between the Acts will closely examine how her lyric prose and gorgeous vision combine to consider the sense of exhaustion that punctuated the Modernist period leading up to the Second World War. Edward Mendelson describes the book: ‘Everything comes to an end in Between the Acts, and then, as the book itself comes to an end, something unknowable begins.’ The book includes a pageant composed of imaginary episodes from 1,000 years of English history, and a close examination of the intricacies of village life in England in the days leading up to the Second World War. As always, it is Woolf’s penetrating consideration of intimate relationships and the places where language fails — but something else transcends — that lift this work from ‘the doom of sudden death hanging over us’, as one of her characters describes.

Tickets: £165 (room and board not included)
For more information and to book, see the Literary Salon website
Email: Toby Brothers, Director of the London Literary Salon:

100 Years of Night and Day (conference)

Saturday 26 October 2019
University of Westminster

One hundred years after its publication, the School of Humanities at the University of Westminster are hosting a one-day symposium to celebrate Virginia Woolf’s second novel, Night and Day. In her diary in 1920, Virginia Woolf wrote: ‘I don’t suppose I’ve ever enjoyed any writing so much as I did the last half of N. & D.’ Her happiness with the novel was characteristically short-lived. In 1932 she wrote that ‘N. & D. is dead.’

Paper topics might include, but are not limited to: the relationship between literature and mathematics and astronomy; dreaming and daydreaming; body consciousness; ghosts and haunting; writing practice represented in fiction; spatial geography; London and its addresses; women’s suffrage; marriage and courtship plots; literary celebrity; family portraits; generational conflict; vagueness.

Funding is available to contribute towards speaker travel costs. Lunch will be provided.

Please contact

All-day Reading of The Waves

Sunday 27 October 2019, 10am–9pm
Thomas Gray Room, Pembroke College, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RF

Join us to hear The Waves read aloud in its entirety. Come for the full day, or any part of it. We will break occasionally for refreshments at Fitzbillies or other nearby places.

Everyone welcome. Hosted by Literature Cambridge. Free of charge but please book in advance with Eventbrite. For further information, please email:

Not Quite So Kind: Woolf and the Limits of Kindness

Friday 1 November 2019
Fordham University London Centre, 2 Eyre Street Hill, London EC1R 5ET

In Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, kindness has its limits. When the shell-shocked veteran Septimus Warren Smith and his wife announce their intention to seek a second opinion from Sir William Bradshaw, Dr Holmes turns on them with stunningly rapid bitterness: ‘if they were rich . . . by all means let them go to Harley Street; if they had no confidence in him, said Dr. Holmes, looking not quite so kind’. Throughout her writing, Woolf explores both the limits of mere kindness and what it means to be of a kind, to be kin, stressing the common root of adjective and noun. This talk unpacks several of Woolf’s key uses of the word ‘kind’ to explore how, in 2019, we might understand the complex interactions of social cues, intimacy, fondness and mistrust in Woolf and how those stories continue to resonate today.

Anne E. Fernald is Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Fordham University. She is the author of Virginia Woolf: Feminism and the Reader (2006) and co-editor of the journal Modernism/modernity.

1.30pm Light sandwich lunch
2pm Talk by Anne E. Fernald
3.30pm Refreshments
4.30pm End

Tickets are free but please register here

Modernist Alice

Tuesday 5 November 2019, 1–2.30pm
Lucy Cavendish College, Lady Margaret Road, Cambridge CB3 0BU

Talk by Professor Dame Gillian Beer. You can buy lunch in the Lucy Cavendish dining hall from 12.30pm before the talk.

The Alice books transform from age to age and place to place. In the period of Modernism in Britain and Surrealism in Europe, they took devious and different directions. The talk will be illustrated with writing and images drawn from Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Walter de la Mare, Arthur Eddington, Vladimir Nabokov, Andre Breton, and others.

Free of charge: everyone welcome. Hosted by Literature Cambridge and Lucy Cavendish College: see the Literature Cambridge website. For further information, please email:

Readings from A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas

Thursday 28 November 2019, 7pm
Sam Wanamaker Theatre, The Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT

This autumn, we mark the centenary of two political milestones in the fight for gender equality with readings of two of Virginia Woolf’s seminal works: A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas.

Both texts movingly and powerfully articulate Woman’s right to intellectual freedom and financial independence. They argue for the urgent need to remove ingrained constraints on female creativity, as imagined through the plight of Shakespeare’s sister: a woman ‘as adventurous, as imaginative, as agog to see the world as he was. But she was not sent to school’.

One hundred years on from both the election of Nancy Astor, the first female Member of Parliament, and the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which outlawed discrimination on the grounds of gender or marriage in appointments to public functions, we will reflect, with these texts, on how far we have come, while also acknowledging the importance of pushing the conversation ever forward.

Standing tickets (fixed position) £10
Seated tickets from £20
(£2.50 transaction fee per order applies online)
For further information, see the website

Woolf and Wordsworth

Tuesday 4 February 2020, 1–2.30pm
Wolfson Room, Lucy Cavendish College, Lady Margaret Road, Cambridge CB3 0BU

Talk by Matthew Holliday. Free of charge. Everyone welcome. Hosted by Literature Cambridge and Lucy Cavendish College: see the Literature Cambridge website.
For further information, please email:

Intelligence (London Modernism Seminar)

Saturday 7 March, 11am–1pm
King’s College London
Natasha Periyan, ‘The Biopolitics of Mrs Dalloway: Sentiment and Intelligence’
Michael Collins, ‘The IQ Sensorium: Meritocracy and the Senses in Twain, Adams, and Du Bois’

The London Modernism Seminar is sponsored by Birkbeck, Goldsmiths, King’s College London, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway and Kent. It meets on Saturdays from 11am to 1pm, and is open FREE of charge to anyone interested in modernism.

‘A Public of Two’: The Ambivalent Friendship of Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield

Tuesday 10 March 2020, 1–2.30pm
Wolfson Room, Lucy Cavendish College, Lady Margaret Road, Cambridge CB3 0BU

Talk by Clare Nicholson. Free of charge. Everyone welcome. Hosted by Literature Cambridge and Lucy Cavendish College: see the Literature Cambridge website.
For further information, please email:

Virginia Woolf Pilgrimage

31 May–6 June 2020
Various locations

Join Common Ground Pilgrimages and Professor Stephanie Paulsell of Harvard Divinity School for one of the most sacred traditions: a walking pilgrimage. We will spend one week walking in South Downs National Park and along the coast in Sussex, England. Allowing the space to inspire us, we will read Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse as if it was a sacred text.

Tickets $1,000 deposit, $4,200 total payment (prices in US dollars).
See website for further information and registration

30th Annual International Virginia Woolf Conference

Thursday 11–Sunday 14 June 2020
University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD 57069, USA
International conference
Organiser: Benjamin D. Hagen; email:

Virginia Woolf’s Women

Sunday 19–Friday 24 July 2020
Wolfson College, Cambridge CB3 9BB

Literature Cambridge summer course 2020. Intensive summer course with lectures by Marion Dell, Alison Hennegan, Karina Jakubowicz, Claire Nicholson, Trudi Tate and others. We will study some of Woolf’s great women characters (Mrs Ramsay, Mrs Dalloway, Orlando), and learn about some of the important women in her life: Julia Stephen, Vanessa Bell, Katherine Mansfield, Ethel Smyth. Plus visits to the first two women’s colleges in Cambridge, where Woolf gave the talks which became A Room of One’s Own (1929). And much else.

Full price: £1,650
Early Bird Discount: £1,480 (before 15 November 2019)
Discount for members of VWSGB: £1,550 (after 15 November 2019, subject to availability)

Reading the 1920s

Sunday 26–Friday 31 July 2020
Wolfson College, Cambridge CB3 9BB

Literature Cambridge summer course 2020.  How did writers respond to the complex of issues in the decade after the First World War? We take a new look at Woolf, T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster, Radclyffe Hall, Edmund Blunden, D.H. Lawrence, and others in the 1920s. With lectures, seminars, tutorials, and visits to places of interest in Cambridge, including Kettle’s Yard and the Wren Library.

Full price: £1,650
Early Bird Discount: £1,480 (before 15 November 2019)
Discount for members of VWSGB: £1,550 (after 15 November 2019, subject to availability)

Monk’s House

Rodmell, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 3HF

For events at Monk’s House, see the website.

We are constantly looking at new volunteering roles at Monk’s House. Do you have a particular skill we can utilise? You don’t need to be a Virginia Woolf expert as full training will be given so why not consider joining our friendly volunteer team at Monk’s House and learn new skills, meet new people and have fun? If you would like more information, please contact us on or call 01273 474 760.


Charleston, Firle, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 6LL

For events at Charleston Farmhouse, tel. 01323 811 626 or see the website. You can shop online at the Charleston shop web page.

For a variety of literature events, please see the website of the Institute of English Studies.