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We are thrilled to offer fifteen people the chance to join this very special walking tour led by critically acclaimed writer Francesca Wade. Guests will be welcomed to The Academy Hotel at 6 p.m., where the walk will commence. The tour will focus around Mecklenburgh Square, the locus of Francesca’s breakthrough biography Square Haunting. The tour will then conclude back at The Academy Hotel, where guests will enjoy a welcome drink and readings from the book by Francesca.
Francesca Wade has written for publications including the London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Financial Times, New Statesman and Prospect. She is editor of the White Review and winner of the Biographers’ Club Tony Lothian Prize. Square Haunting is her first book. She lives in London.
‘I like this London life . . . the street-sauntering and square-haunting.’
Virginia Woolf, diary entry, 1925
Mecklenburgh Square, on the radical fringes of interwar Bloomsbury, was home to activists, experimenters and revolutionaries; among them were the modernist poet H. D., detective novelist Dorothy L. Sayers, classicist Jane Harrison, economic historian Eileen Power and writer and publisher Virginia Woolf. They each alighted there seeking a space where they could live, love and, above all, work independently.
H.D.’s unconventional ménage and tangles with D. H. Lawrence inspired a lifetime of innovative works, while Sayers wrote her first bestseller and faced down a fraught challenge to her principles. Harrison and her creative partner Hope Mirrlees mingled with Russian émigrés and found fresh intellectual impetus in translation. One of the first female professors at the LSE, known for her vocal pacifism, Eileen Power’s BBC radio broadcasts were as popular as her ‘kitchen dances’. And, as the Second World War began, Woolf wrestled with ambitious personal projects and the looming threat.
Francesca Wade’s spellbinding group biography explores how these trailblazing women pushed the boundaries of literature, scholarship and social norms, forging careers that would have been impossible without these rooms of their own.