A Single Violet: The Imaginary Diary of Mary Webb
The Shropshire writer Mary Webb (1881 -1927) published novels, essays and poems in the early twentieth century that explored folklore and the sacred qualities of nature. My novel sets out to create ‘a living, breathing, fictional Mary Webb’ through the imagined recreation of her diaries.
Although Webb did not receive the attention she strived for in her lifetime, she received posthumous success during the countryside revival of the 1930s, and in the 1980s as Virago Press reintroduced her work to a new readership. Since then, Webb has gone largely forgotten and unstudied, and very few personal papers survive in the archives. Her husband explained that the papers were burned to heat the house when the couple were too poor to pay for fuel, adding ‘they made a splendid fire’. Taking inspiration from the life and work of Webb, A Single Violet uses in-depth research and imagination to fill the deep lacuna in the record.