We loved watching the inspiring story of Virago, Changing the World One Page at a Time, especially as it features Bloomsbury’s very own Alexandra Pringle. We urge you to watch it while it is still available on BBC iPlayer. Bringing out of print classics back into the public eye as well as championing new exciting books runs true with the Bloomsbury Reader ethos. We’re also lucky enough to publish some of the same authors, including Storm Jameson, Amanda Coe and Ann Bridge.
First published in 1957, this astonishing novel describes the cultured, privileged, secure, and close-knit world of an Oxford college. This is epitomized by the Master and the Master’s house, a haven of good taste, intelligence and aristocratic nonconformity. Yet these are not stonyhearted snobs; they have accepted an outsider – Nevil Rigden, product of a city slum – into their midst. He is a friend to the great Thomas Paget, husband to Paget’s sister, and he stands high in the Master’s favour. Bemused by elegance, urbanity and intellect, the web of deceit is being spun fatally within this charmed – and charming – circle. No one can read this story unshaken.
Storm Jameson (1891- 1986) was born to a North Yorkshire family of shipbuilders. Jameson’s fiery mother, who bore three girls, encouraged Storm (christened Margaret Storm) to pursue an academic education. During her career Jameson wrote forty-five novels, and was always politically active, helping to publish a Marxist journal in the British section of the International Union of Revolutionary Writers in 1934 and attending anti-fascist rallies.
The complete script to the three part BBC television drama Life In Squares, (starring James Norton, Phoebe Fox, Eve Best and Lydia Leonard) exploring the tangled and complex loves of the Bloomsbury Group, includes an introduction by the screenwriter, Amanda Coe. Vanessa Bell, the heart of this set of writers, artists, philosophers and intellectuals, has an incredibly close and often difficult relationship with her sister, Virginia Woolf. When Vanessa falls in love, she must balance her role as Virginia’s confidant and carer with her new role as lover, wife and mother. Vanessa’s beliefs about creative and sexual freedom are revolutionary but often difficult to live with, as infidelity, passion and love pushes and pulls at her happiness.
Amanda Coe is a screenwriter and novelist who lives in London. Credits include creating the award-winning Channel 4 series As If, the feature Margot for BBC4 and Filth, [starring Julie Walters] for BBC 2, and the BBC4 adaptation of John Braine’s Room at the Top, for which she won a BAFTA in 2013. Her first novel, What They Do in the Dark, was published by Virago and Norton in 2011, and her second, Getting Colder in 2014. Getting Colder was shortlisted for the Encore award.
A Place to Stand is set in Budapest in the spring of 1941, Hope – a spoilt but attractive society girl and daughter of a leading American business man – finds herself playing the lead in a dangerous and most unexpected affair of underground intrigue, through the machinations of her journalist fiancé. During the course of her activities she falls in love with a Polish refugee, and at the moment when Germany invades Hungary, she is already deeply involved – both emotionally and politically.
Bridge, herself an eye witness of these events, tells in moving and graphic terms the terrible story of Germany’s ‘protective’ invasion; although it is presented in the form of an imaginative episode, the historical significance and accuracy are all too tragically evident.
Ann Bridge’s novels concern her experiences of the British Foreign Office community in Peking in China, where she lived for two years with her diplomat husband. Her novels combine courtship plots with vividly-realized settings and demure social satire. In the 1970s Bridge began to write thrillers cantered on a female amateur detective, Julia Probyn, as well writing travel books and family memoirs. Her books were praised for their faithful representation of foreign countries which was down to personal experience and thorough research.