Archive for the ‘16th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf’ Category

Virginia Woolf knitted. Vanessa Bell crocheted. And we are doing both at #Woolf2018.

V Woolf knitting portrait

Vanessa Bell painting of Woolf knitting in an armchair

The 28th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf at Woolf College at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, includes the Woolf Project. And like the theme of the conference — Virginia Woolf, Europe, and Peace — the Woolf Project focuses on peace as well.

Woolf knitting

It reimagines Bell’s portrait of Woolf knitting in an armchair by covering it with pieces knitted and crocheted by conference-goers and University of Kent staff.

Throughout the conference, participants are picking up knitting needles and crochet hooks and choosing yarn from a basket full of colorful skeins and balls to fashion squares and other shapes. These are being joined together to cover an armchair placed in the midst of the conference space.

Knit for Peace

Once the conference is over, the chair cover will be taken apart by Emma Brainbridge of Kent, who has overseen the project, and transformed into blankets for the charity Knit for Peace.

knitting is the saving of life – Virginia Woolf

The Woolf Project in action

A variety of yarn,, hooks, and needles are available for conference-goers to pick up and use.

Emma Bainbridge of Kent with the armchair in its nearly complete cover, complete with accessory pillow.

The Woolf Project armchair covered in crocheted and knitted squares and other shapes created by conference-goers.

Even the back of the armchair is covered with handwork of many colors, shapes, and designs.

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Georgetown College

Georgetown College

After this year’s conference focused on Woolf and the City, it seems only fitting that the 20th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf should focus on “Virginia Woolf and the Natural World.”

It will be held June 3 to 6, 2010, at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky, which, organizers say, is “located on 104 acres of beautiful Kentucky bluegrass.” Georgetown is located 10 miles north of Lexington off I-75.

All proposals for papers, panels, workshops or readings will be considered, but organizers are especially interested in those relating to the conference theme. Topics might include:

  • flowers
  • rythms of nature
  • Cornwal or St. Ives
  • country homes and estates
  • sailing
  • nature as restorative
  • nature as punitive
  • Woolf and ecology
  • Woolf and the environment
  • gardens and gardeners
  • seascapes
  • farmers and farming
  • hunting
  • parks and zoos
  • landscapes
  • vacations
  • hiking
  • prehistory
  • city versus nature
  • animals — animality, animal imagery, domestic animals, animal pet names
  • teaching Woolf and nature

A more complete call for papers will be available soon.

For more information, contact conference organizer Kristin Czarnecki at kristin_czarnecki@georgetowncollege.edu.

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Victoria GlendinningWhen Victoria Glendinning‘s Leonard Woolf: A Biography hit the bookshelves last September, opinions about the book formed quickly. And comments — both negative and positive — flew.

Anonymous reviewers posted brief but critical comments on the Amazon UK Web site. Glendinning’s husband, Kevin O’Sullivan, responded with his own glowing defense and signed the review with his own name. That generated more furor.

Comments on the Amazon U.S.A. Web site were overwhelmingly favorable. And other sites, such as Simon & Schuster’s, posted complimentary blurbs from reviews at large. John Gross wrote his own positive assessment for Commentary Magazine entitled “Mr. Virginia Woolf.”Leonard Woolf bio cover

At this year’s 17th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, I heard one or two negative remarks about the book, but Glendinning’s biography of Leonard wasn’t a topic of any of the conversations in which I was involved. I did wonder, though, what people found problematic.

Yesterday, Anne Fernald mentioned on her blog, Fernham, that she is reviewing the book for the Virginia Woolf Miscellany. She said she “found a lot to like” in Glendinning’s biography. I agree. I found sections helpful when I was looking for information about Leonard’s and Virginia’s wartime experiences.  

The Whitbread-prize-winning biographer of Vita Sackville-West seems to have taken the furor in stride. At least that’s how it sounds in an interview conducted by Susan Johnson of the Sydney Morning Herald.

“`The whole thing was extraordinary but I suppose if you put your head above the parapet at all, there are some people who will decide they don’t like you, even if they don’t know anything about you,'” she says in the article published today.

She went on to explain that, “`Virginia Woolf has become so much more than she really was, you know, she’s become iconic and devotees almost worship her and impose upon her all sorts of attributes. They kind of feel they own her.

“`I’m the first to respect her work and I’m not trying to down Virginia but there’s this sort of cult … I gave a talk at a Virginia Woolf society in Birmingham before the book was published and at questions afterwards somebody asked if Woolf said something or thought something or other and I, in all innocence, asked, ‘Which Woolf are you talking about?’

“`There was this hoarse voice from the audience: ‘There is only one Woolf.’ And she did not mean Leonard,'” Glendinning told Johnson.

Glendinning has produced an impressive body of work. She is the award-winning author of Vita: The Life of Vita Sackville-West and Trollope, as well as Elizabeth Bowen, Edith Sitwell, Rebecca West, and Jonathan Swift. She has also written three novels: Flight, The Grown-Ups, and Electricity.

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