Find a book

A Book a Month

We can send a book a month for six or twelve months - the perfect gift. More »

Midsummer Night in the Workhouse

by Diana Athill
Persephone book no:

91 92 93

Order This Book

The Far Cry
A Well Full of Leaves
Regular price £14.00
In Stock
£0.00 Unit price per

ISBN 9781903155851

Midsummer Night in the Workhouse contains a selection of short stories mostly written in the late 1950s. Some are set in England and describe incidents from Diana Athill's girlhood; one or two describe holidays abroad; almost all are seen from the woman's point of view. 'In this terrific collection female characters are sexually adventurous, introspective and enjoy a drink or three,' wrote the Daily Mail. 'A cheating wife, back with her boring husband, is wracked with agonising love for the unavailable partner of her brief fling; a writer seeks inspiration at a writers' retreat whilst avoiding the group seducer.' First published in America in 1962, the stories, which have never been re-published before, complement both Athill's memoirs (Instead of a Letter, Stet) and letters (Instead of a Book). When they were reviewed on Radio 3's Night Waves Matthew Sweet called them 'extremely good ... written with brilliant precision and chilling honesty.' And The Times said: 'They reveal the same very mischievous and essentially humane sensibility that will be familiar to readers of Diana Athill's memoirs. But their value goes far beyond their potential biographical contribution. In her capacity to calmly and cheerfully record deep sadness, she ranks among the best writers of late twentieth century short stories.'  

Also available as a Persephone Audiobook read by the author.


A 1970s furnishing fabric which the author bought as curtains for her flat in North London.

Picture Caption

'Hiking' 1936 by James Walker Tucker Laing Art Gallery/PCF.

Read reviews about all Persephone books
Read blogs about all Persephone books

Categories: Short Stories

Back to top