Our monthly Orlando Sundays run from 10.30am-12.30pm, and are held in our beautiful Threshing Barn Cafe:
16 Sept (Theme: Time) 14 Oct (Theme: Gender & Otherness)
18 Nov (Theme: Love)
16 Dec (Theme: The Self)
These lively, informal sessions each explore a different theme in the book. You will read different passages from Orlando, along with extracts from Vita and Virginia’s letters, essays and diaries, and other texts relevant to the theme.
You don’t need to have read Orlando already and there’s no homework or preparation required – simply turn up and immerse yourself in two hours of thinking, talking and being inspired.
The sessions are hosted by our Reader in Residence Holly Dawson, who will use new and interesting angles to help bring Orlando to life, whether you are already an Orlando fan or you are new to the book. She says:
‘Orlando can be a hard book to get into, but it’s one of those novels where the more you know about it, the more you enjoy it. I call it an archaeology book – it’s worth digging beyond the page to discover the real-life experiences and relationships that Woolf used to create it.’
Reading passages aloud in the group will also bring out the humour in the book, that often gets lost when you’re reading alone. ‘It’s actually incredibly funny and supposed to be read as a satire. Unlike many of her other novels, this is Woolf at her most acerbic and savage; the spiky wit that characterises her letters is artfully deployed in Orlando to expose the absurdity of her Victorian upbringing, of the patriarchy, of class and of society itself.’
Our Orlando Sundays are for everyone. Bloomsbury fans will discover more about the set’s relationships and ambitions; bookworms will enjoy the literary analysis and context; Orlando enthusiasts will find new layers of appreciation and be able to share their own interpretations of the book.
‘It’s an extraordinary work – there has been nothing like it before or since,’ Holly adds. ‘Everything it reveals to us about time, identity, feelings of belonging and otherness, about definitions of the Self, are more relevant today than ever. Ultimately it’s a book about how we tell our own story and find our own truth.’