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Two free events will celebrate the centenary of Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room (1922) this week. And organizers Rachel Crossland and Alice Wood invite readers to join them online in marking 100 years since its first publication.

Free online seminar

What: Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room: Centenary Reflections
When: Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2:30–4:30 p.m. BST, 9:30-11:30 a.m. ESTfree online seminar
Who: Charlotte Taylor Suppé (independent scholar): “Women Must Weep: Betty Flanders and the Perils of Nationalistic Mothering;” Chris Wells (University of Sheffield): “Sexology, Bisexuality and Experimentation in Jacob’s Room;” and Vara Neverow (Southern Connecticut State University): “Tracing Patterns in the Critical Reception of Jacob’s Room from 1922 to 2022″
More information: Get abstracts and speaker biographies.
Registration: Register by noon BST on Oct. 26 to receive a link to join the seminar.

A readathon

What: Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room: Centenary Readathon
When: Thursday, Oct. 27
How: Follow and tweet to @VWoolf100 on Twitter. Hasthag: #JacobsRoom100

One hundred years to the day from the novel’s first publication, Rachel Crossland and Alice Wood invite readers of Jacob’s Room to join in a collective reappraisal of this text. Woolf’s Jacob’s Room is one of the key works of modernism’s annus mirabilis of 1922, but still attracts much less attention than T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land or James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Whether reading the novel for the first time or returning to it, organizers encourage students, scholars, and, in Woolf’s phrase, “common readers” to dive into this short book (or a portion of it) on Oct. 27, then tweet thoughts and reflections to @VWoolf100 with the hashtag #JacobsRoom100.

What fresh light can today’s world shed on Jacob’s Room and how can this novel speak to us today, organizers ask.

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One of the benefits of being a member of the International Virginia Society is receiving copies of the society’s publication, the Virginia Woolf Miscellany.

AnneMarie Bantzinger

The latest installment, Issue 98, is now online. It features the special topic “The First Thirty Annual (International) Conferences on Virginia Woolf,” edited by AnneMarie Bantzinger.

The collection, solicited in 2019, offers a collage of reminiscences and memories that evoke the conference experiences from multiple perspectives, those of organizers and participants.

Among them is one I wrote about the 2009 conference in New York City. I’m sharing it here.

Woolf and the City: Wow!

For a girl born in Brooklyn, transplanted to Ohio at the age of three, and engaged in a longtime love affair with both Virginia Woolf and New York, could there be anything better than a Woolf conference in New York City? I think not.

Conference organizer Anne Fernald and Megan Branch, Fordham student, at Woolf and the City

And that is why “Wow!” was my immediate reaction to Woolf and the City, the 19th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf. Ten years later that is still my emotional response when I think of that 2009 event, which is why I chose the New York City conference as my personal hands-down favorite among the ten Woolf conferences I have attended.

Held June 4-7 at Fordham University on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and organized by Anne Fernald, the conference was the second I had attended. But it was the first one I wrote about on Blogging Woolf, the site I created in July of 2007. Now, those blog posts, including one aptly titled “In the aftermath of Woolf and the City, one word — Wow!” help me recall the high points of the conference I described as “dynamite.”

Notable scholars, authors, readers

It featured 50 panels, attracted 200 Woolf scholars and common readers from around the globe, and introduced me to notable authors I never dreamed I would meet.

Ruth Gruber at Woolf and the City

One was Dr. Ruth Gruber, who died in 2016. Ninety-seven at the time of the conference, she was known as a journalist, photographer, and the author of Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman (1935).

She shared fascinating stories of her 1930s experiences as a journalist who visited the Soviet Arctic and a writer who met Virginia and Leonard Woolf in their Tavistock Square flat.

I remember chatting with this redhead curbside as she patiently waited for the cab that would take her home.

Novel writer and keynote speakers

Susan Sellers

Another was Susan Sellers, author of Vanessa and Virginia, the novel based on the relationship between sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, which was receiving rave reviews in the US at the time. I recall her graciousness as she signed books and chatted with readers.

Others I listened to, but did not meet, included keynote speaker Rebecca Solnit, a prolific author whose work is so timely and compelling today, and Tamar Katz of Brown University who spoke about the importance of “pausing and waiting” in life and in Woolf.

From a walking stick to rock music

What else struck my fancy? Here’s the list:

  • A visit to the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library, where we were treated to a private viewing of pieces in the Virginia Woolf collection, including the walking stick rescued from the River Ouse after her death. Being there felt more sacred than church.
  • A performance of the 2004 play Vita and Virginia, written by Dame Eileen Atkins and directed by Matthew Maguire, director of Fordham’s theatre program.
  • A performance that combined rock-out music from an L.A. band called Princeton with dance from the Stephen Pelton Dance Theatre as the group performed cuts from its four-song album “Bloomsbury” based on the lives of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, and Lytton Strachey.
  • And, of course, the cherished presence of Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson and their collection of Bloomsbury Heritage Series monographs, including my first, which debuted at that conference — Reading the Skies in Virginia Woolf: Woolf on Weather in Her Essays, Her Diaries and Three of Her Novels — making Woolf and the City extra memorable.

Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson at Woolf and the City in 2009

 

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Virginia Woolf scholar Gillian Beer will do an online reading and discussion of her short memoir covering her experiences of being evacuated as a child during WWII. Titled Stations without Signs, the memoir was published this year by Hazel Press.

The one-hour reading via Literature Cambridge will begin at 6 p.m. BT Dec. 5. The cost is £5 and registration is available online.

Gillian Beer lecturing on Virginia Woolf’s The Waves in April as part of Literature Cambridge’s online offerings.

 

 

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Get ready to celebrate Dalloway Day on two days, June 16 and 19. And thanks to a variety of digital events being planned, you can join the celebrations of Woolfians across the pond without leaving your home.

Go live from Hatchards with the VW Society of Great Britain

This year’s Dalloway Day will be a Zoom event on Saturday, June 19, presented live from Hatchards, Piccadilly, an afternoon celebrating Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs Dalloway’s Party” and the art of the short story past and present.

The theme is “Virginia Woolf’s Short Stories” and speakers include Karina Jacubowicz, organizer of the ‘Virginia Woolf Podcast’ for Literature Cambridge, Woolf scholar and novelist Maggie Humm, and poet Cathy Galvin of the Word Factory, which ‘support[s] the next generation of short story writers’.

Book your FREE place on Eventbrite for this event set for 2-4 p.m. BST and 9-11 a.m. EST.

Share your favorite Woolf short story

Celebrate with the Royal Society of Literature and the British Library

See all RSL Dalloway Day events

Some are free to the public or to RSL members. Others range in price from £3 to £5. A £25 annual digital pass covering all RSL events is available as well.

Join the Big Read in Bath

Enjoy artwork shared by Louisa Albani

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Come one, come all to the 30th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, which for the first time will be held virtually via Zoom. Postponed last year due to COVID-19, the conference will be held online from June 10-13. And all are welcome.

On the bright side

While Woolfians won’t be able to meet in person this year, there is a bright side. This virtual conference will allow more folks from around the world to attend, something that some global attendees lobbied for when the last in-person conference was held in 2019. It will also allow those who cannot afford to travel from afar to be a part of things.

Profession and Performance, June 10-13

The Department of English will host the four-day virtual event at the University of South Dakota. The theme of the conference, “Profession and Performance,” brings together two significant terms.

The first term, profession, mattered deeply to Woolf. It calls to mind not only her sense of herself as a writer but also the set of specialized occupations she addresses in “A Room of One’s Own” (1929) and “Three Guineas” (1938), areas of study and livelihood traditionally reserved for the sons of educated men.

The second term, performance, invokes the Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf’s commitment over the past three decades to the arts, to theater, to music, to the spoken word and to their resonances with the performance and performativity of Woolf’s life and writing.

Attend one or all

Since the conference is on Zoom, you can register, download the program, and attend as few or as many of the panel discussions and plenary events as you like. Plenary sessions feature:

  • A roundtable with Mark Hussey (Pace U), Urmila Seshagiri (U of Tennessee–Knoxville), Drew Shannon (Mount Saint Joseph U), and Jean Moorcroft Wilson (U of London)
  • Monumental Close Reading: Entering the “The Mark on The Wall” as an

    Ane Thon Knutsen with her hand-printed volume “A Printing Press of One’s Own,” introduced at the 2017 Woolf conference.

    Immersive Installation—Word by Word, Print by Print with Ane Thon Knutsen (Oslo National Academy of the Arts)

  • Performance Double Feature: “The Party” and . . . a surprise with Ellen McLaughlin, Kathleen Chalfant, and Drew Shannon
  • Still Very Precarious: Reprising Woolf’s “Think we must” with Carrie Rohman
    (Lafayette College)

Cost

Fees range from $15 for one day to $50 for the full conference.

Get some swag

A wide variety of conference swag — from stickers to mugs to T-shirts to posters decorated with the conference graphic — is available. Get it here.

More information

If you have questions, contact the conference organizer, Benjamin Hagen, at Benjamin.Hagen@usd.edu. Follow the hashtag #vwoolf2021 on Twitter.

 

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