Holding a Mirror
Early in 1925 there arrived at the Hogarth Press in London’s Tavistock Square a parcel, sent from Zululand, containing the manuscript of Turbott Wolfe, the first novel of an unknown writer named William Plomer. Leonard Woolf wrote back promptly, saying it looked ‘very interesting’ and that once Virginia, who was ill, had read it, he would write again. Plomer, living at a trading store in Entumeni, outside the forested hilltop town of Eshowe (named onomatopoeically in Zulu after the sound of wind in trees), was overjoyed. Two months later, Leonard wrote again, making an offer of publication, and weeks afterwards followed up with the news that Harcourt Brace & Co. in New York wanted to publish it too.