M is for …


Memoir Club


Gosh, it sounds like the Memoir Club would have been most people’s worst nightmare. A group of friends gathered together with the aim of writing their memoirs but in the process having to share their most intimate secrets and thoughts.

The Memoir Club was founded in the 1920s as a way of encouraging those procrastinating writers to write something, specifically their memoirs or autobiographies. Membership was by invitation only and extended to a dozen people who all knew each other well and was, more or less, the Bloomsbury Group as we know it.  The group met from 1920 to 1964 (the year I was born, incidentally) and during this time met about sixty times and between them they read about 125 memoirs. Quite a prolific and dedicated, long lasting group.

The key rule to the meetings was that all members should always tell the truth. Anyone presenting their memoir should be frank and open and should have the freedom to say anything. It would be received in an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding and no one could be shocked or angry with what they heard. Yeah right.

Memoirs were read out to the group. This was the arena in which Virginia disclosed the abuse she had suffered by the Duckworth brothers but apparently she delivered it in an entertaining way. She would not have been offered support at the meeting, just acceptance for what it was.

The Memoir Club sounds too intimate for my liking. It really would have been my worst nightmare. Not that I have anything to hide but I don’t think I want to know everything about everyone else either. Lol.


2 thoughts on “M is for …

  1. The Memoir Club is new to me. I have read a lot about Virginia but had never heard of this. I wonder were many memoirs published as a result or did they just read to group members. And she was not offered support when she told about her abuse at the hand of her step-brothers. I wonder why this was. Did she deliver it in such an entertaining way that her listeners thought it had not affected her?


    1. Hi Brenda. Of the 125 memoirs that were read to the group, about 80 survived and around 60 were published. Virginia’s memoir was written with an audience in mind and she wanted it to be entertaining. Her reading was ‘a wonderfully comic performance’. She had wanted to entertain whilst at the same time revealing something important and personal. Adele.


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