Virginia Woolf is becoming ever more popular in Turkey. Tuesday, we posted about a new platform for budding Turkish writers who have an interest in Woolf. Today, we share news of a free online event focused on Woolf and literary history that is part of the Virginia Woolf Society Turkey’s Woolf Seminar series.

What: A free online talk on “Unwriting and Rewriting History and Literary History: Woolf’s Fictions and Essays,” as part of the Woolf Seminars series of the Virginia Woolf Society Turkey.

Who: Anne Besnault, senior lecturer in English literature at the University of Rouen – Normandy, France, will be the speaker.

Date: Friday, September 29
Time: 7 p.m. Turkey time or noon EST.  (Please check your local time.)
Cost: Free.
Registration: Everyone is welcome to register and attend, using this Eventbrite link:

About the talk

The aims of Besnault’s talk are:

  • to introduce the audience to Woolf’s historical thought, as seen from the vantage point of the past and contemporary historiographical discourses;
  • to offer a new vision of Woolf as a literary historian essentially interested in the textuality of history;
  • and to uncover the specific coherence of her history of nineteenth-century women’s literature beyond its apparent heterogeneity and contradictory impulses.

About Besnault

Besnault’s research focuses on modernist fiction and criticism, short story theory, genre and gender studies in nineteenth- and twentieth century British literature, literary history, Katherine Mansfield, and Virginia Woolf’s essays and fiction.

With Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada, she is the co-editor of Beyond the Victorian and Modernist Divide: Remapping the Turn-of-the-Century Break in Literature, Culture and the Visual Arts (Routledge, 2018). She is also the author of Virginia Woolf’s Unwritten Histories: Conversations with the Nineteenth Century (Routledge: 2022).

Screenshot of the Woolf-inspired Instagram account, “Kendine Ait Bir Oda”

A new writing platform for budding writers interested in Virginia Woolf aims to be a beacon for Woolfian writing in a language other than English. “Kendine Ait Bir Köşe” (“A Corner of One’s Own”) calls for writers, junior scholars, journalists and artists to submit their Woolf-inspired essays, stories, poems, letters, and memoirs in Turkish.

Drawing on the idea Woolf shares in Three Guineas (1938):  “As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world,” “A Corner of One’s Own” serves as an archive for Woolfian writing in the Turkish language, according to founding editor Professor Mine Özyurt Kılıç.

Submissions should be on the current theme offered by the platform and are limited to about 500 words. For more information, contact Mine Özyurt Kılıç at mozyurtkilic@gmail.com.

The platform was launched following the “Virginia Woolf in Turkey” project in January, which was supported by the British Council.

Where to find it

You can find the project on host Yasemin Bahloul Nirun’s  Woolf-inspired Instagram account. The podcast itself, “Kendine Ait Bir Oda” (“A Room of One’s Own”), can be found at @kendineaitbirodapodcast via Substack on social media and in audio format on Spotify, Apple and Google podcasts.

The project offers a “room” for writers by sharing the best essay in text. Previous winners who wrote Woolfian essays inspired by A Rooms of One’s Own (1929) and To the Lighhouse (1927) are available on these platforms. The writer of the first essay, Tuğba Duzak, has translated her piece and shares it here with the international Woolf community.


By Tuğba Duzak

Before reading Virginia Woolf’s novel, lighthouses, for me, have been the symbol of hope and new opportunities. Considering the generic function of the lighthouses, it was second nature to think of them as a light of life. The light emanating from the lighthouse, connecting a sailor, who was desperately trying to find their way, to life has always filled me with an indescribable joy. That is why, for me, the symbol of hope has always been lighthouses. Nevertheless, when I read Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, that belief turned upside down. The lighthouse, which is used as a symbol of unattainability in the book, destroyed the symbolism I had built in my mind with what can be called a childish naivety, and left a huge disappointment in its place. I had no light to lead my sailor home safe and sound anymore. I lost the way home, and to myself.

My thoughts might sound a bit sombre, given that nobody likes losses. But, are they really that bad, just because we do not like them?

Lately, losing is a notion that I have been pondering over a lot. It is an action that happens independently of the person, with our hands tied. We cannot lose something on purpose, actually, the ignorance of the person creates the state of being lost, for that reason, it is as if it always evokes despair in humans.

Sometimes we lose someone we love. Rather than saying “She died.” we say, “We lost B.” I wonder why we do that. Whose feelings do we take into consideration when we say, “lost”? We lost her, yeah. Traffic accident. Yeah, it’s hard, she was married. No kids, no. Yeah, we lost her.

Lost, as if we could find them, if we look for them, flesh and blood. As if not dead but hidden. Here you have humans, people who cannot give up on their hopes even in death. This persistent disregard of death, an inevitable part of our lives, makes me feel bitter inside. I think I find the saying “losing time” interesting the most. How do we lose time? Let’s say we did, how do we get back the lost time? Can we do it? It is hard to give an answer. Even though we are aware that time cannot be regained, why can’t we accept this and find proper expressions? The hollow denial we have saddled this remark with astounds me greatly. It is comical to lay the responsibility of our self-deception on these two words.

Nevertheless, I still like this term, losing, as it is an indication of the expectation in humans; and because the act of losing harbours the possibility of finding as well. We lose our way, our belongings, and sometimes ourselves. Then our pursuit begins. Even if we know we cannot find it, we tediously rummage around everywhere, in the hope of finding it. We find our pen, which got lost two weeks ago, under the bed; somehow, it rolled over there. Then we sit down, and continue to find ourselves from where we left off in empty pages. We write. Finding the words buried in hidden depths again, we embrace them. We catch them as if playing hide-and-seek, tagging them triumphantly. We continue to advance in the hope of reaching the meagre light spreading from the lighthouse on the corner of our minds.

April, 2023

Editor’s Note:

Mine Özyurt Kılıç is the co-creator and organizer of the Woolf-related event series, “A Press of Ones’ Own: Celebrating 100 Years of Hogarth Press (Harvard U)  and Virginia Woolf in Turkey and 100 Years of Literary Modernism (1922-2022),” which included translation and printing workshops, a Woolf inspired exhibition of Turkish contemporary art, and author meetings. She has designed and taught the first all-Woolf BA and MA course in Turkey, and she organized the first-ever Dalloway Day in Turkey in June 2021 where she commemorated and introduced Suzanne Bellamy and Susan Stanford Friedman to the Turkish speaking Woolf community.

Yasemin Bahloul Nirun’s podcast series has created an inspiring room by promoting young women who make their living through producing works in arts and culture. Since its debut in 2021, there have been nearly 30 interviews with young musicians, curators, artists, filmmakers, journalists, businesswomen, all of which are available on social media platforms. She has recently organised a writing workshop series in the footsteps of Julia Cameron’s The Artists’ Way.

We all know the gender gap exists in the publishing world. For example, one study shows that books by female authors make up only a small percentage of collectible books priced at $500 or more. Nevertheless the work of Virginia Woolf is highly collectable. She is among the 10 most collectible female authors at AbeBooks.

Here is the list of the 10 most collectible female authors posted on the AbeBooks website:

  • Jane Austen
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Ayn Rand
  • Harper Lee
  • Agatha Christie
  • Mary Ann Evans/George Eliot
  • Beatrix Potte
  • Toni Morrison
  • Mary Shelley
  • J.K. Rowling

The data

AbeBooks.com analyzed a random sample of their sales for collectible books priced $500 or more. The company was dismayed to learn that only 4.8 percent of those books had been written by women.

“We had expected to see an imbalance but not one of such significance,” noted the website.

The reason for the imbalance is the long history of male privilege that gives men priority for the public sphere, including publishing, while women are relegated to the domestic sphere.

“There are simply fewer female authors of significance across the past 500 years of publishing. Many female writers wrote anonymously or privately published their work. Most simply did not even have the opportunity to become published authors,” according to AbeBooks.

Woolf broke the rules to become an important figure in modernist literature and feminism in general. Her novels –Mrs Dalloway(1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928) – are landmarks in 20th century literature. Her success is all the more remarkable since she struggled with mental illness for most of her lifeA Room of One’s Own (1929) might be her most important work, this essay argues that women writers need their own space in a literary world dominated by men. -AbeBooks

Between 1975 and 1980, Hogarth Press/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich published six volumes of Virginia Woolf’s letters.

A new collection of letters from Virginia Woolf is in the works, thanks to Stuart N. Clarke and Stephen Barkway. The volume will be published by Edinburgh University Press.

For 25 years, Clarke and Barkway have been searching for previously unpublished letters from Virginia Woolf and including them in the pages of the Virginia Woolf Bulletin, which is issued free to members of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain, of which both men have served as officers.

Now the pair has put out a call for any letters from Woolf  that did not make it into the six-volume collection of her letters published by Hogarth Press/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich between 1975-80.

The query Clarke and Barkway sent to society members

“Members of the VWSGB will be aware that, over the past 25 years, Stuart N. Clarke and I have been including previously unpublished letters from Virginia Woolf in the pages of the Virginia Woolf Bulletin.

“We will be collecting these, and many others that did not make it into the six-volume collection of her letters (Hogarth Press/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975-80), for a collection to be published by Edinburgh University Press.

“We’re hoping to have almost finished by the end of the year, and to submit the ‘manuscript’ next summer.  We have been allowed to include the ‘new’ letters in ‘Congenial Spirits’.  The book will be a substantial tome.

“If any of you have any such letters, or copies of them, or know where they are, then we should love to hear from you.

“Many of the letters have been published in whole or in part, in auction catalogues, books and articles (e.g. ‘Some [Nineteen] New Woolf Letters’, ed. Joanne Trautmann Banks, Modern Fiction Studies 30:2 (Summer 1984): 175–202; in the Virginia Woolf Miscellany (43 & 55); Woolf Studies Annual (1, 7 & 8), but of course we are hunting for copies of the originals.

“We have checked all the institutions with substantial Woolf holdings, those who are mentioned as owners in the six volumes, and those listed in the annual ‘Woolf Studies Annual’ under ‘Guide to Library Special Collections.  There may be obscure (from a Woolfian point of view) institutions that have the odd letter and that we are not aware of.

“We are frustrated that we have by no means managed to track down all the letters on the two lists of ‘too lates’ (1980; available on the VW CD-Rom, Berg M43 (search for “Nigel”)) and ‘too too lates’ (1984), compiled by Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann.  For example, what happened to the letters owned by Roger Fry’s daughter, Pamela Diamand?

“We realise that the minute the book goes to press, another letter or letters will pop up, but we are seeking help from you, in the hope that we will not miss too many.

Got info? Send it here

Information about Woolf letters can be sent to:  vwletters@btinternet.com

A previously unpublished etter from Virginia Woolf to Leonard Woolf published in the Virginia Woolf Bulletin No. 73, May 2023, p. 5


The Common Reader, Virginia Woolf’s book of essays published in 1925 with a jacket design by her sister Vanessa Bell, was provisionally titled Reading.

In it, she planned to revise some of her previously published essays and add some new ones, according to Mark Hussey in Virginia Woolf A to Z. Among its most important essays are “On Not Knowing Greek,” “Modern Fiction,” and “How It Strikes a Contemporary.”

One hundred years ago today, in her Sept. 5, 1923, diary entry, Woolf fills the half hour before dinner with her thoughts about beginning to write her book of collected essays:

A cold douche should be taken (& generally is) before beginning a book. It invigorates; makes one say “Oh all right. I write to please myself,” & so go ahead. It also has the effect of making me more definite & outspoken in my style, which I imagine all to the good. At any rate, I began for the 5th but last time, I swear, what is now to be called The Common Reader; & did the first page quite moderately well this morning. After all this stew, its odd how, as soon as I begin, a new aspect, never all this 2 or 3 years thought of, at once becomes clear; & gives the whole bundle a new proportion. To curtail, I shall really investigate literature with a view to answering certain questions about ourselves–Characters are to be merely views: personality must be avoided at all costs. I’m sure my Conrad adventure taught me this. Directly you specify hair, age, &tc something frivolous, or irrelevant, gents the book –Dinner! – Diary 2, 265.

%d bloggers like this: