Recognised as one of the great writers of the 20th century, Virginia Woolf's ideas helped to change the course of literature and champion women's rights.
100 years on, we think it's high time that there was a life-sized bronze statue of Virginia Woolf in the UK - and we'd like you to help us fix that. We've raised over £35,000 so far of our £50,000 target.
We launched our campaign in 2017 and have had huge success so far!
We commissioned sculptor Laury Dizengremel to design the statue, and she created a Virginia who is friendly and approachable, sitting on a bench in Richmond's favourite hangout spot. Here's a mock up likeness of the statue which will be situated on Richmond Riverside, a place that Virginia liked to walk every day.
A recent audit of London's statues found that there were twice as many statues of animals as there were of named women in the city. Nationally, there are very few statues of women of achievement (under 3%) and we need more representations of great women in our public spaces so that girls and women can see that their work is valued and given the recognition it deserves. Our beautiful new bronze artwork of Virginia Woolf will be an interactive monument that people can sit on and enjoy, maybe even become inspired to write...
Richmond residents are as excited about the statue as we are. We have held two public consultations - the most recent, held in July 2021, found that 91% are in favour of the statue's installation. We were also granted planning permission by Richmond Council in 2018.
As well as receiving support from the general public, the statue has been endorsed on social media by: Caroline Criado-Perez, Polly Toynbee, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, Deborah Frances-White, James O'Brien, Jodi Picoult, Cerys Matthews and Elizabeth Day.
The statue is supported by the descendants of Virginia Woolf, who have appeared in our film and endorsed the accompanying book. It will help to inspire others too, especially women and girls. It will become a focus for artistic and literary events in the area, generating jobs and tourism. Most importantly, it will honour a great writer whose life and works continue to motivate so many others around the world to create books, plays, novels, films and artworks, contributing to our contemporary culture in a vibrant way.
A Passionate Feminist
Her book, a Room of One's Own, is an important early feminist text. She argued that social expectations and a lack of financial resources was preventing talented woman writers from pursuing their craft. A feminist thread runs through many of her novels - she often focused on the interior lives of women, topics that were at the time deemed too unimportant for great literature. Simone de Beauvoir considered her an inspiration.
Woolf is well-known for her relationship with fellow writer Vita Sackville-West, spawning some of the most romantic love letters in history. The two were open about their same-sex affair in a climate that was hostile to homosexuality.
In honour of Sackville-West, Woolf wrote one of her most dazzling and innovative novels, Orlando. Considered a classic of transgender fiction, Orlando is the fictional biography of a poet who lives for hundreds of years, metamorphosing from a man into a woman. Woolf also explored same-sex passion in Mrs. Dalloway, hinting at a possible attraction between Clarissa Dalloway and Sally Seton. Woolf's irreverent attitude to binaries of sex and gender were pioneering for her day, and continue to inspire LGBTQ+ youth.
Woolf aimed to experiment with her fiction and break literary boundaries. She was one of the first writers to use the 'stream-of-consciousness' device, representing the interior monologue of her characters. Her writing is highly reflective and uses a lot of symbolism and imagery, putting character and description at the centre of the literary experience, rather than plot.
Not only was Woolf a pioneering writer, she also played a huge role in bringing the work of other modernists to the world. With husband Leonard, she bought a hand printing press and they published books by emerging writers including T.S.Eliot, E.M. Forster, Katharine Mansfield and even the complete works of Sigmund Freud. They called their indie publishing venture The Hogarth Press, named after the house they loved in Paradise Road in Richmond which is still standing today.
It wasn't easy for Virginia Woolf to make a name for herself as a writer. She had a constant battle with mental health issues, and was given treatments such as being kept in a dark room, fed a milk diet and having her teeth pulled out, in an effort to cure her bouts of depression.
We have released two books in support of the project:
Virginia Woolf in Richmond chronicles the writer's 10 years spent in Richmond, where she wrote her first published short stories as well as groundbreaking novels Jacob's Room and Mrs Dalloway. Using her letters and diaries, the book shows Woolf's love for Richmond's parks and people.
Women Writers' Handbook collates essays and short stories from both established and upcoming writers, exploring topics around women's writing, with the goal of inspiring women writers to fulfil their creative potential.
You will receive a book of your choice with a £15 donation, or both books with a £25 donation. All proceeds will go towards the statue.
We are also offering Virginia Woolf merchandise. Those who donate £12 will receive a tote bag.
Those who donate £20 will receive their choice of t-shirt. You can choose to receive a t-shirt and tote bag bundle for £30.
A Virginia Woolf Super Fan bundle, containing both books, a t-shirt and tote bag, will be sent to those who donate £50. All proceeds from the merchandise will go towards the statue. Rewards will be shipped at the end of the campaign, well in time for Christmas.
We are a committed team determined to make this statue a reality. Our charity has been delivering successful arts and community projects for over 20 years. Our registered charity number is 1055116.
For even more info please visit our website: https://www.aurorametro.org/virginia-woolf-statue