"This college is run by fantastic women, for fantastic women." Jackie Crockford.


Newnham Literary Archive

In 1928,  Virginia Woolf visited Newnham at the invitation of  the Newnham Arts Society to give a talk to the students on 'Women and Fiction'. This talk (along with one given at Girton College) was to become  'A Room of One's Own'  - a text which has proved inspirational for women writers ever since. 

In the 1950s poet Sylvia Plath read English at Newnham.  Newnham writers publishing today include novelists AS Byatt, Margaret Drabble, Salley Vickers, Ali Smith, Patricia Duncker, Sarah Dunant and Jenn Ashworth; poets Gillian Allnutt and Wendy Mulford; biographer Claire Tomalin; poet, novelist, biographer and translator Elaine Feinstein; screenwriter Emma Thompson; children's authors Mary Hoffman and Caroline Lawrence; and writers and broadcasters Germaine Greer, Lisa Jardine, Joan Bakewell, Eleanor Bron, Katharine Whitehorn and Julia Neuberger.
Newnham wants to celebrate the achievements of its writers. One way this is being done is by inviting them to contribute something of their creative work towards a literary archive.  We have already been given books, letters, drafts of published work, memoirs and photographs. These items form a more personal link between the women, their work and the college, allow us to display the material to college members and visitors, inspire current students, and encourage an interest in writing.

Many women writers, established and new, have links with Newnham, and we hope that the Newnham Literary Archive webpage will develop over time.

On 11th and 12th February 2011, the Newnham literary archive was launched, with talks by Claire Tomalin, Sarah Dunant and Nicola Beauman. View the talks and read what the Principal has to say on the archive and its launch.
In March 2013, almost exactly two years after the launch weekend, our second literary event took place on the subject of ‘Women and the Novel', with Margaret Drabble, Patricia Duncker and Jenn Ashworth as speakers. See more details and watch the video.


Some Newnham Authors (Photograph: Alan Davidson)
Some Newnham Authors (Photograph: Alan Davidson)

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