Welcome to my website.
This is where you can find out about me, my books, about my work for Charleston, and about how to contact me.
I’ve written four books (see reviews below); the latest was published in 2011. My latest book, Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes – The Story of Women in the 1950s, was published in March 2015. The paperback is published March 2016. When not researching or writing I am an active trustee of 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).
The Story of Women in the 1950s
Published 5 March 2015 to widespead acclaim. See reviews, below.
We left the wartime women in 1949. As the new decade starts, what will history throw at them next?
Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes is Viking’s lead non-fiction title for Spring 2015, and follows its predecessor (Millions Like Us, see below) in tracking the 20th Century through the experiences of women from 1950-1960 – a decade when marriage seemed unassailable and femininity carried the imperative of a life force.
Virginia Nicholson's finely judged, evocative and heartfelt book brings us the closest we have ever been to the complicated day-to-day reality of women's lives during that still controversial decade, the 1950s
Women’s Lives during the Second World War
This book - which covers the war and its aftermath, 1939-1949 - is my most ambitious to date, and was Viking’s lead non-fiction title in Spring 2011. Strong on narrative and emotion, Millions Like Us tracks women’s experiences of a momentous decade through a host of individual stories, drawing on autobiographies, archives and living memory.
Moving and compassionate but never sentimental, Virginia Nicholson's brilliantly researched, multi-voiced chronicle opens up a new front in our understanding of a tumultuous ten years.
How Two Million Women Survived Without Men after the First World War
“Such an important story, tremendously well researched. Vivid with historical detail, and heart-breakingly honest about a generation of women's real human fortitude.” Lynne Truss
It often seems as if available men are getting scarcer; but there is nothing new about young women who can’t find relationships. Singled Out tells the story of a generation of women, brought up in the unquestioning belief that marriage was their birthright, who discovered after the 1914-18 war that there were, quite simply, not enough men to go round. In the 1920s they were known as the 'Surplus Women’.
Experiments in Living 1900-1939
In Among the Bohemians Virginia Nicholson charts the valiant experiments of the artistic generation who in the early twentieth century declared war on conformity. This book is a rich and detailed exploration of the way of life of the rebels and free spirits in the first half of the twentieth century – the majority of them artists, poets, writers and composers - who were brave enough to jettison Victorian conformity.
A Bloomsbury House and Garden
Virginia Nicholson’s first book was co-authored with her father, and illustrated with colour photographs by Alen MacWeeney. The book describes the life lived in the Sussex farmhouse occupied for over fifty years by Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and their family and friends. This insider’s view of an historic house breathes life into the decorations, paintings and colourful ephemera which crowd the rooms, now seen by nearly twenty thousand visitors a year.