Stratford Herald May 2019

Gill Sutherland
4th May 2019
Inset, Joan Bakewell. Mary Jane Baxter, left, with Sarah Hosking, the Mobile Makery and Daisy.
Photo: Mark Williamson C10/4/19/8338

What do you get if you have the spirit of Virginia Woolf, Dame Joan Bakewell, a chocolate fountain, a red carpet, a trumpeter, a 100 bows, and glasses of fizz? Why, the perfect ingredients for a cracking launch of course!

All of the above were present on Saturday when local charity Hosking Houses Trust officially opened a new mini studio that has been built on to its Clifford Chambers writer’s residence, Church Cottage.

Hosking Houses Trust is a unique charity founded on Virginia Woolf’s 1925 assertion that women need money and a ‘room of one’s own’ to write. Since 2002 the charity has given women writers a three-month residency at Church Cottage and a bursary to live on, meaning they can get on with their literary endeavours. The only criteria is that they have a publishing deal, have been previously published and are over 40. The roll call of alumni makes fascinating reading: as well as Dame Joan Bakewell herself, it includes such luminaries as novelist Jessica Berens, playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker and poet Wendy Cope.

Sarah explains next weekend’s events: “We have Dame Joan — who is as lovely as you imagine — coming to open our new studio. She will undo 100 ribbon bows over the front door that will represent the 100 writers we have so far hosted. Then she will proceed to the village hall where she will read from Virginia Woolf’s 90-year- old polemic A Room of One’s Own before refreshments.”