Free

Sylvia Topp - Eileen

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time

Location

Location

Blackwell's Bookshop

48-51 Broad Street

Oxford

OX1 3BQ

United Kingdom

View Map

Event description
Discover the life of Eileen O'Shaughnessy, the woman who shaped George Orwell's writing.

About this Event

In the year that marks the 75th anniversary of Animal Farm, we are delighted to be joined by Sylvia Topp who will be discussing Eileen: The Making of George Orwell, a ground breaking account of a woman too often forgotten by history. She will be in conversation with Quentin Kopp, of the Orwell Society.

Meticulously researched, this biography by Sylvia Topp goes a long way to address Eileen’s rightful place alongside one of England’s foremost authors

- Richard Blair, son of George and Eileen and Patron of the Orwell Society

Synopsis:This is the never-before-told story of George Orwell's first wife, Eileen, a woman who shaped, supported, and even saved the life of one of the twentieth century's greatest writers.In 1934, Eileen O'Shaughnessy's futuristic poem, 'End of the Century, 1984', was published. The next year, she would meet George Orwell, then known as Eric Blair, at a party. 'Now that is the kind of girl I would like to marry!' he remarked that night. Years later, Orwell would name his greatest work, Nineteen Eighty-Four, in homage to the memory of Eileen, the woman who shaped his life and his art in ways that have never been acknowledged by history, until now.

From the time they spent in a tiny village tending goats and chickens, through the Spanish Civil War, to the couple's narrow escape from the destruction of their London flat during a German bombing raid, and their adoption of a baby boy, Eileen is the first account of the Blairs' nine-year marriage. It is also a vivid picture of bohemianism, political engagement, and sexual freedom in the 1930s and '40s.

Through impressive depth of research, illustrated throughout with photos and images from the time, this captivating and inspiring biography offers a completely new perspective on Orwell himself, and most importantly tells the life story of an exceptional woman who has been unjustly overlooked.

Sylvia Topp is the author of numerous essays, including 'Hidden Husbands' and 'You Can't Get to Barnhill from Here'. Eileen is her first book. Sylvia worked in publishing since college, and was on the staff at The Soho Weekly News and later the Village Voice, before finishing her career at Vanity Fair. Her late husband, Tuli Kupferberg, was a Beat poet and co-founder of rock band the Fugs. Together they wrote, edited and designed over thirty books and magazines.

Quentin Kopp's father, Georges Kopp, was Orwell's Commanding Officer during the Spanish Civil War. Quentin joined The Orwell Society and the Committee in 2011, where he organises all events for members including visits to Jura and Spain. Quentin met Sylvia in May 2012 when he accompanied Sylvia on a visit to Spain.

This is a free event, but please register if you would like to attend. Seating is unallocated. For more information, please contact our Customer Service Department on 01865 333 623 or email events.oxford@blackwell.co.uk

Share with friends

Date and Time

Location

Blackwell's Bookshop

48-51 Broad Street

Oxford

OX1 3BQ

United Kingdom

View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved