Personal Statement

from Sarah Hosking, founder/secretary

Our small charitable trust was founded to give bricks, mortar and a credited bank account to Virginia Woolf’s famous 1928 polemic A Room of One’s Own.

When I was a student in the early 1960s, I asked my older and better educated friend to lend me a book “that would change my life” as I went off to catch a train. She put into my hands A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf and I was, and remain, enchanted with it.

In this book she famously said that women need a room of their own and money if they are to write fiction … to which we would add … if they are to write anything at all. I resolved then that, one day, I would give reality to this generous idea and I spent the next forty years pursuing a mongrel career in the arts whereby I learnt how to make things happen. By the age of sixty in 2000 when I retired, I knew how to initiate this charity and I set about fund raising, contributing £5 from my pension with which I bought stamps.

Even though women’s lives have altered and improved to a mammoth extent since then in terms of education opportunity, political protection, social freedom, economic facility and medical intervention, nevertheless we believe that too many women have too much to do and, by the time they reach middle age or even old age, they despair of ever having the time and opportunity to fulfil their abilities.

We obtained our charitable status and bought, initially on a mortgage, a small cottage near Stratford-upon-Avon. I then made between three and four thousand appeals, applications, begging letters and filled-in forms for money and over twenty years, raised about half a million pounds. Writers started to arrive in 2002 and, since then, we have hosted, on average, nine women residents per year writing on all manner of subjects.

Residencies in our cosy cottage are not intended for young women but for older women who, as in the Marie Lloyd song, might be a bit of a ruin that Cromwell knocked about a bit … or who are experienced and with some significant achievements and are desperate for time, peace and sometimes money to pursue their personal work.

Above all, the last twenty years have been tremendous fun and, when I finally shuffle off these mortal coils, I hope that a small but significant environment will remain for the relief and hospitality of clever women who require a room of their own in which to write anything at all.

Sarah Hosking

August 2023

 Sarah Hosking at her house,
which is bequeathed to the Trust.