Julia Writes Blog

On My Radar (2)

The Museum I recently spent a few days in Bournemouth (I hadn’t had a night away in nearly two years) and my favourite thing in Bournemouth itself was definitely the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum. Merton and Annie Russell-Cotes, owners of Bournemouth’s Royal Bath Hotel, were avid travellers, collectors and philanthropists. They didn’t have any…

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Lady Eleanor Smith

I was so pleased to be asked to write about interwar aristocratic circus goth Lady Eleanor Smith and her first novel Red Wagon for the literary website Neglected Books. Neglected Books editor Brad Bigelow (a terrific Hon) and I were on the same City Lit biography writing course last year and both have subjects who…

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Tension by E.M. Delafield

E.M. Delafield is synonymous with Diary of a Provincial Lady (1930) and it always comes as a surprise that her other novels are so different. Consequences (1919) and Thank Heaven Fasting (1932) are terribly bleak indictments of the Edwardian marriage market that remind me of a less ornate Edith Wharton. Tension (1920), an early and…

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On My Radar (1)

I’ve stolen this from the Observer. I always like to think about what I’d choose if I were important enough to be featured. It’s been such an overcast August and I haven’t been out nearly as much as I would have liked. I’m currently under the weather and feeling sorry for myself but here are…

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Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser (V&A)

This is not a review. Just a few thoughts. Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser is a huge, expensive (as in a lot of money has clearly been spent on it – entry with an Art Pass is a very fair £10) V&A spectacle. As a former long-term V&A volunteer who never made it to the next…

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Tea is So Intoxicating by Mary Essex

I have to admit it: despite the excellent title, I wasn’t expecting Mary Essex’s Tea Is So Intoxicating (1950) to be one of my favourites in the British Library Women Writers series. I previously found Elizabeth von Arnim’s farcical Father quite silly (like Barbara Pym on an off day) and I’d heard this title compared…

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More MacRae

Following on from my last post, I thought I’d share a bit more about my Gordon MacRae project. My wise best friend Ali has encouraged me not to give up and not to overthink the end game. Proper biographers probably wouldn’t approve of my emotional attachment to my subject (this, however, doesn’t blind me to…

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Round in circles I’d go

During the winter lockdown (the one before Christmas – remember that?), I took a six-week course in biography writing with City Lit. Professor Robert Fraser and my classmates were inspirational and encouraging (I hope I also provided some useful comments for their projects) and I often miss it and wish it could have continued indefinitely…

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Catching Up

I planned to update this blog once a week but have lapsed already. The weather has been so unpredictable; I’ve had a few horrible hayfever attacks and summer is feeling like bit of a non-event. My ideal summer would be 20C, sunshine, a gentle breeze and the odd rainy day for the good of the…

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Chintz: Cotton in Bloom at Fashion and Textile Museum

The Fashion and Textiles Museum, Bermondsey, is an unusual place. It doesn’t have a permanent collection and solely showcases temporary exhibitions. My experience of these exhibitions has been hit and miss: I’m still annoyed about the Orla Kiely exhibition, which was nothing more than advertising and a complete rip-off, but I enjoyed the one on…

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