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Who Was Sophie?: The Two Lives of My Grandmother: Poet and Stranger

Celia Robertson

3 Reviews

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Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction

Celia Robertson tells the heartfelt and moving story of her grandmother's fascinating journey from published Bloomsbury poet to bag lady through diary extracts, journals and correspondence with Virginia and Leonard Woolf

'By the end of her life, Sophie Curly was essentially a bag lady you might have walked past on a park bench, or ignored, as she looked for something over and over again in her handbag. She was blown about the streets of Nottingham, one of those crumpled figures, half frightening, half pitiful... Kids threw stones at her. But this was only one of my Grandmother's lives: she hadn't always been Sophie Curly.
Back in the 1930s she was Joan Adeney Easdale, a teenage girl with two volumes of poetry published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press. She grew up in Hampstead and in a cottage in Kent with her mother Gladys and her brother Brian, who later won an Oscar for writing the music for The Red Shoes.'
From the British literary world of the 1930s to first-hand experience of post-war emigration, psychiatric practices in the 1950s and 1960s and the grim realities of modern day city life this a granddaughter's beautifully told account of the search for the truth about her grandmother's extraordinary life.

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Praise for Who Was Sophie?: The Two Lives of My Grandmother: Poet and Stranger

  • A well written and often touching book - LITERARY REVIEW

  • Sophie s story is beautifully and lovingly told by a sympathetic granddaughter whose aim is to coaz the old renegade from the shadows and into the light, revealing her as an extraordinary person whose undoubted gifts were sadly extinguished by conflict between the need to write and the demands of domesticity. - DAILY MAIL

  • Robertson is a skilled curater, marshalling the scattered evidence from her grandmother s life into a coherent and absorbing story...Robertson has the perfect pitch. She races through the background material, exploring the genuinely remarkable incidents with a keen eye and giving impressively objective analysis. - OBSERVER

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Celia Robertson

Celia Robertson was born in London in 1967. She has worked for many years as an actress, appearing on stage in Joe Penhall's Love and Understanding, Mark Ravenhill's Handbag and Airsick by Emma Frost.

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