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22 April 2020

HAL140044_08_galThe novelist May Sinclair was 35 when she moved to number 13, now number 17 Christchurch Hill, in the autumn of 1898. She lived here until the spring of 1906 when she moved a few yards down the hill to 8 Willow Road.  And it was in the house in Willow Road that she wrote The Creators, published in 1910. It asks two perennial questions a) can a woman be a good wife and a good novelist at one and the same time, and b) can two writers ever hope to live together happily? She describes Tanqueray, who lodges at number 1 Christchurch Hill.  ‘For the last week he had been what he called settled at Hampstead… He had chosen the house because it stood at a corner, in a road too steep for traffic. {That is poetic licence and May Sinclair may have been conflating this end of Christchurch Hill with, say, Holly Mount.} He had chosen his rooms because they looked on to a green slope with a row of willows at the bottom and a row of willows at the top, and because, beyond the willows, he could see the line of a low hill, pure and sharp against the sky. At sunset the grass of his slope turned to a more piercing green and its patches of brown earth to purple.’ (The Creators is  high up on our list of Possibly Persephone’s – if any reader of this Post has read it and admires it as much as we do, please write and tell us if they too think it should be reprinted. )

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