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Writing in the Dark: Bloomsbury, the Blitz and Horizon Magazine

Will Loxley

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Literature: history & criticism

An atmospheric narrative account of young writers working together in wartime London by an exciting new voice in literary non-fiction

'I enjoyed being transported, through Loxley's vignettes, to various corners of London...Loxley's first chapter, on Isherwood, [is] one of the most engaging I've read...a measured and thoughtful debut' Daisy Dunn, The Literary Review

'Will Loxley has a deft touch, wit, and a panoramic eye which would have pleased Cyril Connolly himself.' John Sutherland, author of Monica Jones, Philip Larkin and Me

'A marvelous tour d'Horizon, written with energy and an eye for the spot-on detail, and creating a rich picture of culture, art, work, friendship and love in a London going through extraordinary times.' Sarah Bakewell, author of At the Existentialist Cafe

Amid the sleepless nights of constant explosion and gunfire, and the discomfort, grief and primordial fear, the little office at 6 Lansdowne Terrace seemed to hold intact everything that was great or beautiful about human life.

As the streetlamps flickered out and lights were obscured behind brown-paper screens, a subdued atmosphere took hold of London in 1939. Cloistered in pubs and gloomy sitting rooms, London's young writers and artists faced being sent to the front, trading their paintbrushes and pens for the weapons of war. In WRITING IN THE DARK, Will Loxley conjures up this brooding world and tells the story of the defiant magazine Horizon, which sprung up against the odds.

Interweaving the personal histories of the magazine's leaders - Cyril Connolly, Stephen Spender and John Lehmann, with their friends and contemporaries Virginia Woolf, George Orwell and Dylan Thomas, as well as many more names both familiar and not - Will brings us into these writers' homes and into the little offices at 6 Lansdowne Terrace. WRITING IN THE DARK captures the literary life of WWII, fusing the exhausted melancholy in the aftermath of the Blitz with changes in the writers' own lives, as they moved from city to countryside, from youth to middle age.

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Will Loxley

Will Loxley was born in London and brought up on the Suffolk coast. He studied at Newcastle University before joining the Creative Writing course at University of Oxford. He now writes about the strange and wonderful worlds of modern British literature.

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