Winifred Holtby was an inspiration. Today she is most famous for her final novel, South Riding, which she finished just before her early death aged 37, and for her friendship with Vera Brittain, but during her lifetime she was a famous journalist, feminist and social reformer. After witnessing racism in South Africa, she campaigned for the unionisation of black workers there, donating much of her own money to the cause. She was such a prolific figure that before she died, three publishers approached her for her autobiography, including Virginia Woolf. For more information on Winifred Holtby and the new BBC drama of South Riding, see here. There is also a video of Andrew Davies speaking about his adaptation. I'd like to point out, though, that the article is incorrect in saying that South Riding'was out of print in the last decade'. Since 1988 it has been on the Virago Modern Classics list and has never been out of print with us. Winifred Holtby is a writer we cherish and champion.
We will be issuing an authoritive beautiful new edition in November, with a new preface by Shirley Williams, who lived with Holtby as a child, a new introduction by her biographer Marion Shaw, and an epitaph by Vera Brittain, which was included in the first edition of the novel, but hasn't been in print since.
Andrew Davies (Bleak House, Sense and Sensibility, Affinity) is adapting South Riding for a three-part drama, to be shown on BBC1 in January 2011. It will star David Morrissey and Anna Maxwell Martin.
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