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The statue of Virginia Woolf

A group of people posing for a shot standing and sitting by the new statue of Virginia Woolf
Credit: Liz Anderson. L-R Cllr. John Coombs, Sophie Partridge, Mayor Julia Cambridge, Emma Woolf, Ludo Woolf, Laury Dizengremel, Cheryl Robson, Peter Fullagar

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the official unveiling of the long-awaited statue of Virginia Woolf. It was all the more special as it was unveiled by descendants of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Sophie Partridge, Emma Woolf and her son, Ludo.

The statue campaign ran for about five years under the steerage of Cheryl Robson of Aurora Metro. The sculptor, Laury Dizengremel, worked tirelessly to get a superb likeness of Virginia, and this is evident in the photos. But why was I there?

I’d been involved in the campaign for about four years after I started working for Aurora Metro as editor and typesetter. I joined the campaign after Cheryl asked whether I’d like to write a companion book for the campaign about Virginia’s life in Richmond. Being a fan of the writer (I’d done my Masters dissertation on her), I jumped at the chance. Little did I know what it would lead to.

Virginia Woolf in Richmond, available from Aurora Metro

This beautiful book was a bit of a dream – it took just over a year to research and write, and it was finally launched in November 2018 at the Richmond Literature Festival. It’s available from Aurora Metro as hardback and in paperback from Books on the Rise, a new bookshop in Richmond. I almost forgot it’s also available as an ebook!

The book and campaign have led me to write articles (see here and here) and give numerous talks, some in person and some online; the last of which was also yesterday, after the unveiling in Books on the Rise.

You can see an online talk I did for the Kew Society on my Virginia Woolf page here, as well as reviews of the book.

The unveiling was so well-prepared and planned that even the rain didn’t dampen the spirits. The Telegraph and Reuters were there to mark the occasion, as well as the Virginia Woolf podcast, who I was delighted to talk to again. To hear the first podcast with Laury Dizengremel and I talking to Karina Jakubowicz, head here. There will soon be a new podcast episode featuring some of the people at the unveiling.

It was lovely to hear what the great, great niece of Virginia, Sophie Partridge had to say at the unveiling as well as Emma Woolf, the great niece of Leonard Woolf. You can see a short video of the unveiling from Reuters here.

It’s been a long journey, not always easy with ups and downs, but the statue is finally in place. I’ve made some lifelong friends during the process (as well as an ultra-special present) and I know that whenever I visit Richmond in the future, there’s a statue looking out across the river that I had a hand in getting there.

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