Students Staff

22 May 2009

Acclaimed critic and writer concludes Woolf events

Colchester Campus

A series of well-received events celebrating the legacy of Virginia Woolf comes to a close next week with a day of activities featuring several high profile speakers.

Afterlives of Virginia Woolf ends on 29 May with a talk by acclaimed writer, broadcaster and academic Professor Hermione Lee, as well as a performance by National Theatre actress, Kristin Hutchinson, and a discussion with playwright Darryl Pinckney. It concludes a month-long programme of events that have included talks by distinguished scholars, workshops, performances and film screenings.

The events, which started on 22 April, have explored how the work of Virginia Woolf has been expressed through different media and genres. It included, earlier in the month, a talk by film director Sally Potter with audience members saying afterwards: ‘she was so interesting, full of amazing ideas and yet so down to earth’ and ‘it was wonderful to hear someone talking such rare sense about the importance of art and the necessity of work.’

Professor Lee’s talk, which takes place at 2pm on 29 May, will be on ‘Taking Possession and Letting Go: Virginia Woolf and Biography.’ She said: ‘I will talk about how writing the biography of a major figure such as Woolf involves balancing proprietariness with objectivity, negotiating with other versions, and putting Woolf’s afterlives in a historical context.’

Professor Lee’s biography of Virginia Woolf, published in 1996, won the British Academy Rose Mary Crawshay prize, was chosen as a New York Times Book Review Best Book of the Year, and was short listed for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography.

A revered academic, Professor Lee taught at the University of York for more
than 20 years and is a Fellow of New College at the University of Oxford. She is a prominent reviewer, having written for various publications including Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books and the New Yorker, and also presented Channel 4’s book programme, Book Four, between 1982 and 1986.

Also on 29 May (4.30pm), actress Kristin Hutchinson will perform, and talk about her work on Katie Mitchell’s stage production of Woolf’s novel The Waves. At 5pm, writer and essayist Darryl Pinckney, who, inspired by Woolf, wrote a libretto for Robert Wilson’s opera Orlando, will be in conversation with the University’s Professor Marina Warner.

For further details about these events see:


Notes to editor
1. For further information please contact Dr Sanja Bahun, telephone: 01206 872634, e-mail: Alternatively, contact the Communications Office, telephone: 01206 873529 or e-mail:

2. Below are further biographical details for Kristin Hutchinson and Darryl Pinckney.

Kristin Hutchinson is a company member of the National Theatre and trained at Oxford University, The Poor School and Gardzienice Theatre, Poland. Recent theatre credits include roles Waves (National Theatre and Broadway tour), Dream Play, Iphigenia at Aulis (both National Theatre), The Mysteries, Creation, and Passion (Royal Shakespeare Company), Party Time/One for the Road (Battersea Arts Centre), and The Europeans (Mercury Theatre, Colchester). She has worked regularly with Katie Mitchell since meeting her as a fellow English student at Oxford in 1985.

Darryl Pinckney is an essayist, novelist and a librettist/dramatist. He has worked on several occasions with impresario, opera director and dancer Robert Wilson. Their collaborative production inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando was first performed in 1989 and recently reprised at the Taiwan Festival. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and also teaches at Skidmore College and Yale University.


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