Last Updated on June 14, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
Digital festival celebrates Virginia Woolf
Calling all fans of Virginia Woolf. Dalloway Day, which takes place annually on a Wednesday in mid-June, is set for June 16th. This will be the second digital day of celebrating and investigating the legacy of Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury and is hosted by the Royal Society of Literature (RSL), an organisation that promotes the value of literature in the UK. The significance of the date will be familiar to Woolf’s devotees as one of her most famous novels, Mrs Dalloway, takes place over the course of a Wednesday in mid-June.
2021 is the 100th anniversary of Woolf’s only short story collection, Monday or Tuesday, which focuses on female friendship. The line-up this year is exciting and the day-long festival includes both early morning and evening sessions. In between, participants can take a self-guided walking tour and listen to a podcast.
With short story writing under investigation during Dalloway Day, the morning kicks off early – 7.15 am – with a Write & Shine short story writing workshop. Entitled Blue & Green, the workshop will be led by short story writer and literary facilitator, Gemma Seltzer. It takes inspiration from Woolf’s story, Blue & Green and will guide participants through exploring the role of colour in creative work. The workshop is open to all levels of experience.
An exciting collaboration entitled Material Culture in a Digital World will bring together author Kate Mosse, OBE (Fellow of the RSL), Claire Wilcox (Professor in Fashion Curation and Senior Curator of Fashion at the V&A) and Shahida Bari (Professor of Fashion Cultures and Histories, and presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking). They will discuss how material culture has evolved over the past century since Mrs Dalloway walked about the London streets. With experts from fashion fiction and curation on the panel, it promises to be a fascinating exploration of how clothes shape our lives.
Over on the US site Literary Hub, Deborah Levy and Merve Emre will discuss their personal relationship to, and the ongoing influence of, the work of Virginia Woolf in their writing. Levy is a renowned author of seven novels and her trilogy of memoirs on writing, gender politics and philosophy, Real Estate, was published last month. Emre is an associate professor of English at Oxford University.
Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield: Critical Friendship will examine the relationship between the two Modernist writers and how they influenced one another’s work. Their professional and personal friendship will be considered along with their short stories. The panel includes writers Kirsty Gunn, Emily Midorikawa, Irenosen Okojie and Emma Claire Sweeney. This online event is hosted on the British Library platform and those who book a space will be sent a link in advance which will give access for 48 hours.
Kabe Wilson, a multimedia artist and Woolf scholar will host a workshop for students of the Mulberry School Trust entitled Introducing Virginia Woolf. His workshop will focus on how to creatively interact with classic novels in a contemporary context. Parts of the workshop will be made available to those who book for the event.
Finally, a self-guided tour, Exploring Bloomsbury, will take participants around the neighbourhood made famous by Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group. The RSL has picked up on the way in which walking around our neighbourhoods has become a central feature of our lives under lockdown. The tour is curated and narrated by Susheila Nasta, Romesh Gunsekera with Alexander Bubb. It explores the influence of South Asians on Bloomsbury and the tour in integrated into the map of Bloomsbury as well as available as a playlist on the RSL’s Soundcloud. The map and tour can be taken in person or enjoyed from home.
As part of Dalloway Day, the RSL will be relaunching There We Stop; There We Stand which is an interactive map and audio walking tour by artist S.I. Martin. It explores the Black cultural heritage of Soho, looking at the lives of those whose portraits hang in London’s National Portrait Gallery.
Those who would like to participate can register at