Tuesday 4 August 2015

if you're looking at this website, then you're behind the times my friends! I now have a sparkly new website, professionally designed and everything... so why not hop on over to www.emmawoolf.com and check it out


Monday 6 July 2015

Monday 22 June 2015

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”  
“Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.”  
“People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.”
Saul Bellow

Saturday 23 May 2015

“Not thinking about anything is Zen. Once you know this, walking, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is Zen.” Bodhidharma

“Letting go is the lesson. Letting go is always the lesson. Have you ever noticed how much of our agony is all tied up with craving and loss?”  Susan Gordon Lydon

"...there is a way to be sane. You can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes.

Simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process.

It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher.

And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty.

That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.”  Osho

Tuesday 28 April 2015

"...Most of all, talking matters; honest conversations between me and you and everyone we know. Not pretending we’re OK when we’re struggling, not shoving pastries at ‘skinny’ people in the office or gossiping about them behind their back, but genuine, honest talk. If you, or someone close to you, has disordered eating patterns, if you’re weighing yourself obsessively or exercising excessively, if you’re bingeing or purging after meals, the first thing to know is that there is nothing to be ashamed of. You’re not alone: many people – young, old, female, male, underweight and overweight and everything in between – feel the same way." 

This is an extract from my article for Stylist Magazine, out this week. You can read the full version here http://www.stylist.co.uk/life/stylist-hears-first-hand-what-it-s-like-to-live-with-mental-illness

Saturday 18 April 2015

If you don't know Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill, you need to read it pronto! Such beautiful writing, I can't recommend it highly enough. A few favourite snippets:

“The baby’s eyes were dark, almost black, and when I nursed her in the middle of the night, she’d stare at me with a stunned, shipwrecked look as if my body were the island she’d washed up on.”

“My agent has a theory. She says every marriage is jerry-rigged. Even the ones that look reasonable from the outside are held together inside with chewing gum and wire and string.”

“How had she become one of those people who wears yoga pants all day? She used to make fun of those people. With their happiness maps and their gratitude journals and their bags made out of recycled tire treads. But now it seems possible that the truth about getting older is that there are fewer and fewer things to make fun of until finally there is nothing you are sure you will never be.” 

"The only love that feels like love is the doomed kind. (Fun fact.)” 
“Life may not have a purpose, but it certainly has consequences, one of which is the accumulation of a vast, coastal shelf of uncut, 100 per-cent-pure-regret. And this will happen whether you have no kids, one kid, or a dozen.” Geoff Dyer

Monday 16 March 2015

This weekend is the launch of The Times' Time for Mind campaign, of which I'm delighted to be part... writing about child mental health and the scourge of eating disorders.


Emma Woolf, writer who suffers from anorexia.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

When Alice (in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland) cries from loneliness, the White Queen tells her: 'Consider what a great girl you are. Consider what a long way you've come today. Consider what o'clock it is. Consider anything, only don't cry!' Alice could not help laughing at this, even in the midst of her tears. 'Can you keep from crying by considering things?' she asked. 'That's the way it's done,' the Queen said with great decision...

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Monday 23 February 2015

Big Blonde: A Modern Enlightenment Salon... coming up!

On March 2nd 2015 I'll be speaking at the Big Blonde Salon.

"we absolutely love bringing together exceptional women because wonderful things tend to happen when we do" (amen to that)

In partnership with Soho House:

We're doing something a little different, and asking our speakers to use a particular theme as their starting point - this month it's 'Hunger'.

We're thrilled to be joined by author and TV presenter Emma Woolf, Vietnamese supper club host and film-maker Uyen Luu, and creative director and director of materials for the Institute of Making Zoe Laughlin.

This event is for Soho House members and their guests only.




Monday 16 February 2015

Oh Me! Oh Life!

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities filled with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renewed,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
(Walt Whitman)

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Letting Go (and JOMO)

I’m spending the month of February hundreds of miles from London on a self-imposed writing retreat. I've rented a little house *location secret* with a river splashing past at the bottom of the garden. No television, no radio, no neighbours, no visitors. Nothing but writing, reading, long walks, hot baths, yoga and silence. Feels incredibly zen and peaceful.

It’s all about Letting Go (and the Joy Of Missing Out). As my new book officially publishes today http://goo.gl/u6BLvx I've taken some time out from the real world to work on my next one.

Miraculously, the sun has been shining. Even more miraculously I am writing: nearly 10,000 words in the first week. It took a bit of juggling workwise, and I’m still checking email/Twitter once a day (compare this to the average 150 times a day for most of us) and doing radio/interviews by phone. But without the fun interruptions and meetings and nights out in London, my head feels clear and my novel is taking shape. Walking is a great way to work out plot and dialogue, to recharge with fresh air and open skies, to get headspace and perspective. Green and primal and quiet. As always, after a few days of not reading news or social gossip or updates, I completely lose interest in all that. It doesn’t really matter.
My friends, nothing could be better than a physical and mental detox. Let go of those everyday distractions. Take time for yourself; make time for your work (whatever that might be). Check out my new book and plan your own escape. Relish the opportunity to miss out on whatever the f*ck is going on…
An excerpt from Letting Go, written on retreat last year in deepest darkest French Pyrenees:
‘For me, being completely disconnected was one of the most radical aspects of the retreat. I still don’t understand how something so simple could be transformative, and why I’m not able to avoid social media, emails and the internet of my own free will. Why does it take enforced seclusion and a costly retreat to make me disconnect?
Looking back, I see how I desperately I needed to switch off. That autumn, I had been close to meltdown. It had crept up on me, a combination of writing deadlines, digital overload, too much socialising and too little sleep. I decided to make my break from technology total. We had been advised to leave laptops and tablets behind, and encouraged to keep our phones off…

25 years since the invention of the World Wide Web, most of us spend hours every day online. We’re either on our computer, checking our emails, talking via Skype, tweeting, or connected in some way. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Or before you go to sleep? While waiting for the train? In the queue at Starbucks? If you’re anything like me, you’re aimlessly Googling, checking out Instagram pictures or Pinterest boards, bidding for something on eBay, updating your calendar, replying to texts. How can we expect to fiddle with these devices until late into the night – admit it, many of us take our tablets or phones to bed – then switch them off, and switch ourselves off too? When we have these devices in our bedrooms we’re giving our bodies and brains confusing signals, blocking the natural production of melatonin, and thus interfering with our natural sleep cycles. We are artificially wakeful but simultaneously sleep-starved. No wonder many of us are left feeling distracted, anxious, and unable to power down…
Necessary as it was, I also found the prospect of this digital detox daunting. Back in London I’d packed a stack of books – with no internet, mobile or newspapers, how would I fill my time? I needn’t have worried: almost every hour of the day was accounted for, from dawn yoga to evening meditation, by way of neurofeedback, life coaching, massage and bodywork.

Our bedrooms were what you might call spartan. Mine held a single bed, a desk and chair, and a low couch, no TV or radio, no wardrobe. I found the simple surroundings a relief. I’ve always rather liked the idea of living in a nun’s cell (in fact I’ve always liked the idea of being a nun). There was no mirror in my bedroom, which didn’t matter since I basically wore yoga pants, shorts, or sundress. I didn’t use my hairdryer once, and I noticed that all the women quickly abandoned make-up.
When we were free, between sessions, we were encouraged to spend time alone, in silence, ‘simply resting’. This was quite a radical idea. I found it very hard at first, not having my gadgets, no ping of texts, no flashing red light to validate my existence. Before I left I had set an email autoreply, and told myself that a few weeks away wasn’t the end of the world. The whole point was to leave that anxiety behind.
Once I arrived, sans leads or chargers, and accepted that I was stranded, offline, without a paddle (ok, Blackberry) – after a few days I began to enjoy it. It was liberating, not knowing and not needing to know ‘what was going on’ in the world, by which I mean who was splitting up or getting back together with whom on the Daily Mail sidebar. I had no radio, so no economic or political updates, no arts or science documentaries, no World Service during the night.

Of course I could have borrowed someone’s laptop in an emergency.  But I knew that if I glanced at my emails I’d get sucked into that endless stream of replying, worrying, replying to replies. I spent hours curled on the low couch in my attic bedroom, writing – real writing, with pen and paper. Once I got used to the strangeness of disconnection, my over-anxious, ‘busy’ brain began to quieten down.’

Letting Go: Heal Your Hurt, Love Your Body and Transform Your Life, February 2015, Summersdale


Monday 2 February 2015

Excited to announce that my new book is out now! It's currently riding high in the charts, as Amazon's #1 hot new release in feminist criticism, psychology & emotions. You can order it here http://goo.gl/u6BLvx or find out more below...


It's called Letting Go: How to Heal Your Hurt, Love Your Body and Transform Your Life and here's what some of the critics have been saying...

‘A practical and heartfelt guide to healing for anyone who has suffered from low self-esteem, a lack of confidence, or disordered eating. Woolf writes with intelligence, wisdom and compassion for a generation of women battling an enduring media onslaught of perfectionism. The fightback continues.’
Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, The Vagenda

‘Psychology, philosophy and personal growth marvellously rolled into one, Letting Go is a must-read. This book shows us how to develop inner confidence, open new doors, and rediscover joy and meaning in our lives.’
Deanne Jade, psychologist and founder of the National Centre For Eating Disorders

‘Letting Go is not about giving up, but about letting freedom in. This brave and personal account shows us that the path to true liberation is through embracing our true selves, however flawed we fear they might be.’
Sally Brampton, author of Shoot the Damn Dog and columnist for Top Santé and Psychologies

‘A timely reminder that though we may take ourselves for granted at times, self-care is a divine responsibility. In Woolf’s intimately personal yet relatable voice, Letting Go empowers us to accept both the role of wounded and healer.’
Caroline Kent, Telegraph journalist

‘Gutsy and engaging, Letting Go combines research and real-life advice on fulfilling your inner potential and building self-belief... Woolf’s latest book is highly recommended.’
Tim Weeks, Olympic trainer

‘Emma Woolf is the voice of friendly sanity; she is the warm, assured hand that reaches out and grasps yours. A wonderfully helpful book.’
Kate Long, author of The Bad Mother’s Handbook

Exploring the issues of love, loss, healing and happiness, this manifesto for freedom from one of feminism’s liveliest voices will guide you on the path to feeling newly, truly confident. Life doesn’t need to be a struggle. Letting go is the strongest thing I’ve ever done…

Saturday 24 January 2015

Asked what the happiest moment in her whole life was, Virginia Woolf responded 'with a shining face…. I think it’s the moment when one is walking in one’s garden, perhaps picking off a few dead flowers, and suddenly one thinks,‘My husband lives in that house, and he loves me.'

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Excitement ahead June 4-7 at Virginia Woolf Conference 

If you are still sitting on the fence about attending the 25th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, now is the time to jump off that fence, block off June 4-7 on your calendar, and get ready to travel to Bloomsburg, Pa. The conference, held at Bloomsburg University, is on the theme Virginia Woolf and Her Contemporaries and will feature some real excitement. Here are some highlights now available on the conference website.
Most exciting of all will be Cecil Woolf as the featured speaker at the Saturday evening banquet — and the attendance of acclaimed author Jean Moorcroft Wilson. The couple head up Cecil Woolf Publishers of London

Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson
Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson

Cecil is the nephew of Leonard and Virginia Woolf, and Jean is a well-respected critic and biographer of the World War I poets and the leading authority on Siegfried Sassoon. Cecil and Jean have not attended a Woolf conference since 2010, so their participation in this year’s event is a long overdue treat, both for young scholars who have never had the opportunity to meet this notable couple and for Woolfians who have been befriended by the pair at previous events. As is customary at Cecil’s talks, he will share stories of his experiences with Virginia and Leonard.