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David's Bookshop, Music & Cafe is located in Eastcheap, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3DE
Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3DE

Sylvia Topp Discusses and Signs Eileen, The Making of George Orwell

We apologise but the event has been cancelled

  • Mon Mar 23, 2020 - 19:30
  • David's Bookshop

'Eileen O’Shaughnessy, George Orwell’s first wife, has always been something of a black hole at the centre of Orwell Studies. Sylvia Topp’s painstaking researches have breathed life into this enigmatic figure, and all Orwell fans owe her a huge debt of gratitude' 

D. J. Taylor, author of George Orwell: The Life

Orwell named his greatest work, Nineteen Eighty-Four, in homage to the memory of Eileen O'Shaughnessy, the woman who shaped his life and his art in ways that have never been acknowledged by history, until now. They were married in Wallington Church near Baldock.  From the time they spent in a Wallington, tending goats and chickens, through the Spanish Civil War, to the couple's narrow escape from the destruction of their London flat during a German bombing raid, and their adoption of a baby boy, Eileen is the first account of the Blairs' nine-year marriage. Through impressive depth of research, illustrated throughout with photos and images from the time, this captivating and inspiring biography offers a completely new perspective on Orwell himself, and most importantly tells the life story of an exceptional woman who has been unjustly overlooked.


Sylvia Topp was on the staff at The Soho Weekly News and later the Village Voice, before finishing her career at Vanity Fair. Her late husband, Tuli Kupferberg, was a Beat poet and co-founder of rock band the Fugs. Together they wrote, edited and designed over thirty books and magazines. Sylvia lives in Kingston, Ontario.