The exponentially engaging Vanessa and Virginia

Research Policy Office
Tuesday 30 September 2014

Extensive editorial and biographical research on the work of Virginia Woolf by Susan Sellers, Professor of English and Creative Writing in the School of English, led to the composition and publication of her first novel, ‘Vanessa and Virginia’, a glimpse into the life of sisters Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. The book was published by a small independent publisher in the north-west Highlands of Scotland, Two Ravens Press, and became their most commercially successful publication.

In 2009, it went on to become a Barnes and Noble ‘Great New Writing Discovery‘ and editor’s choice in the NY Times Book Review (Paperback Row). It has been translated into 16 languages. At that time, it was also adapted by Elizabeth Wright to stage and premiered in Aix-en-Provence in 2010. It attracted the attention of freelance director, Emma Gersch, who set up a company, Moving Stories, specifically to tour the play, which opened in September 2010 and ran until April 2013, when it moved to Riverside Studios in London. The play has toured the UK, France, Germany and Poland.

Vanessa and Virginia was chosen for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s ‘Book a Day in May’ and, subsequently, Susan Sellers has been interviewed for broadcast on numerous occasions including a special 45-minute edition of Woman’s Hour on BBC4.

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