Welcome to my new website.

This is where you can find out about me, about the books I write, about my work for Charleston, and about how to contact me.

I’ve written five books of social history. My latest book, Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes – The Story of Women in the 1950s, was published in March 2015; the paperback came out in March 2016. When not researching or writing I work to support Charleston, one-time home of my grandmother the painter Vanessa Bell and other members of the Bloomsbury group, and now an internationally-renowned museum.

My background is in TV documentaries; I’ve written newspaper features and book reviews, and I also give talks. In the last few years I’ve appeared at the Hay-on-Wye, Cheltenham, Bath, Oxford, Dartington, Ilkley and Charleston Literary Festivals (to name just a few).

Published 5 March 2015 to widespread acclaim. See reviews, below.

In the 1950s women were told how to lure their man to the altar. Once married, they were told they could have it all – washing machines, fridges and TVs. But the deal was: stay in the home, cook, and bring up the children. Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes is a story of submission and struggle, rebellion and reward. 

“Nicholson’s book should be necessary reading…”

— The Sunday Times

Millions Like Us covers the war and its aftermath, 1939-1949 and was Viking’s lead non-fiction title in Spring 2011. This book tracks women’s experiences of a momentous decade through a host of individual stories, drawing on autobiographies, archives and living memory.

“Millions Like Us deserves to be a bestseller…”
— The Daily Mail

There is nothing new about young women who can’t find relationships. Singled Out tells the moving and inspiring story of that generation - known as the 'Surplus Women’ - who discovered after the 1914-18 war that there were, quite simply, not enough men to go round. 

“Inspiring, lovingly researched, well-written and humane…”
— The Economist
 

Among the Bohemians charts the valiant domestic experiments of the rebels and free spirits, artists, poets, writers and composers, who in the early twentieth century declared war on Victorian conformity.

“Popular history at its most gossipy and intelligent… This book is a joy.”
— The Observer

Co-authored with her father Quentin Bell, Virginia Nicholson’s first book is a true insider’s view. Alen MacWeeney’s delectable photographs breathe life into the colourful interiors and garden of the Sussex farmhouse occupied by artists Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and their family and friends. 

“A wonderful book about the Sussex farmhouse inhabited by members of the Bloomsbury Group…”
— Sunday Telegraph
Vanessa Bell painting of Charleston Pond, 1919

Vanessa Bell painting of Charleston Pond, 1919