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Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349012285

Price: £12.99

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The letters between Vera Brittain, author of Testament of Youth, and Winifred Holtby, author of South Riding, tell the story of an extraordinary friendship

‘Touching and inspiring’ RACHEL COOKE, Observer

‘Lively, perceptive’ MIRANDA SEYMOUR, Literary Review

‘A beautiful collection’ DAISY DUNN, Sunday Times

‘A moving unvarnished chronicle’ Sarah Watling, Telegraph

From the time when they met at Somerville College, Oxford, until Winifred’s early death at the age of thirty-seven, they wrote constantly, encouraging and advising each other, even through periods as literary rivals as they negotiated envy and self-doubt.

Vera decisively influenced Winifred’s passion for feminism and peace and Winifred gave Vera crucial support, fiercely believing in her literary gifts. Their letters, written from 1920 to 1935, kept them ‘continuously together’.


A beautiful collection... The care with which the letters have been selected and introduced becomes increasingly clear as the pages roll on
Daisy Dunn, Sunday Times
This volume offers a window on an intriguing relationship... [It] delivers Winifred Holtby back into Vera Brittain's ineluctable embrace
Claudia FitzHerbert, Spectator
The Showalters offer an astute and sympathetic reading of the two women's dynamic, and the result is a moving, unvarnished chronicle of intellectual comradeship
Sarah Watling, Telegraph
Fascinatingly, these letters also overturn the sentimental clichés about their relationship
The Oldie
[A] lively, perceptive and immaculately edited selection from the extensive correspondence between Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby... There are many stand-out moments in this engrossing correspondence... The Showalters have triumphantly succeeded in reminding us how fortunate Vera Brittain was to forge a friendship with such a joyous, clear-sighted and selfless individual
Miranda Seymour, Literary Review
I found these letters completely fascinating... the relationship at their centre is endlessly intriguing, and when these young women outline their burgeoning ideas about their careers, marriage, happiness and freedom, it's touching and inspiring
Rachel Cooke, Observer
Expertly and sensitively edited by Elaine and English Showalter... The authors' intense bond is wonderfully captured... what comes through is a true partnership of two women valiantly, imperfectly, trying to find new ways to live
Samantha Ellis, Guardian