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Winifred Holtby in c. 1935
Winifred Holtby (1898-1935) was brought up in Yorkshire and in 1917 went to Somerville College, Oxford to read History; after a year in France in the WAAC, as a hostel forewoman, she returned to Oxford, took her degree, and then moved to London to share a flat with Vera Brittain, the future author of Testament of Youth. 'I shall never quite make up my mind whether to be a reformer-sort-of-person or a writer-sort-of-person,’ she declared, hence her prolific writing about social reform, pacifism and feminism (she was a director of the feminist weekly Time and Tide) and her fiction, short stories, poems, plays, and a book about Virginia Woolf. The first of her six novels appeared in 1923, her second, The Crowded Street,in 1924. Her best-known novel, South Riding, appeared posthumously after her early death from Bright’s disease.