Dalloway Day 2023 – Young People’s workshop with Helen Bowell
For she had a great variety of selves to call upon, far more than we have been able to find room for, since a biography is considered complete if it merely accounts for six or seven selves, whereas a person may well have as many thousand.
How do you present yourself to the outside world? Are you who you were ten years ago, last year, last month, yesterday, just now? Can you choose which self to be in any given moment – or do your selves choose for you? In this workshop, we will be looking at ideas of selfhood, gender and identity through Virginia Woolf’s groundbreaking novels Orlando (which claims to be a biography) and Mrs Dalloway.
The protagonist in Orlando lives for centuries, changes gender halfway through the novel and is constantly remembering and remaking themselves – but in today’s online and postmodern world, the self, gender and identity feel trickier to pin down than ever. To celebrate Dalloway Day, poet Helen Bowell has created a resource that encourages the reader to explore how Woolf’s work can help us to interpret our present moment(s), and how we can speak back.
Helen Bowell is a poet and producer based in London. Her debut pamphlet The Barman was published by Bad Betty Press in 2022, and selected as the Poetry Book Society Summer 2022 Pamphlet Choice. She runs the Bi+ Lines project for bi+ poets and is a co-director of Dead [Women] Poets Society, an Arts Council England-funded collective which seeks to ‘resurrect’ women poets of the past through events and online, which recently completed an Arts Council England funded national tour. She co-guest-edited the Autumn 2020 Modern Poetry in Translation focus on dead women poets in Autumn 2020. She works at The Poetry Society.
Helen is a Ledbury Poetry Critic with reviews in Magma, The North and Poetry Wales. She is a graduate of The Writing Squad, the London Library Emerging Writers Programme, London Writers Awards and the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. She was a commended Foyle Young Poet in 2010 and 2011. She was commended in the 2021/22 Magma Poetry Competition, the 2021 Verve Poetry Competition and Winchester Poetry Festival Prize, and the 2020 Mslexia Poetry Competition. In 2020, she won the Bronze Creative Future Writers’ Award. She was Poetry Business’s first digital Poet in Residence in February 2021. Her poems and translations have appeared in Poetry London, Magma, Ambit, Under the Radar, bath magg, fourteen poems, Tentacular, 100 Poems To Save The Earth (Seren, 2021), The Book of Bad Betties (Bad Betty Press, 2021), Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets (2017) and elsewhere.
As a facilitator, she has run poetry workshops for young people for The Writing Squad and The Poetry Society; and for adults for Creative Future, Spread the Word and Poetry Translation Centre.
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