Sylvia Townsend Warner

Sylvia Townsend Warner (6 December 1893 – 1 May 1978) was an English writer.

She was home-schooled by her father. At the outbreak of World War I, she moved to London and worked in a munitions factory. During the rise of fascism, Warner campaigned on behalf of the Communist Party. She published novels, poetry, and short-stories. She was also a musicologist, and wrote regularly  for The New Yorker and Left Review, among other publications.

Warner lived openly as a lesbian with the poet Valentine Ackland, from 1930 until Ackland’s death in 1969.



  • Lolly Willowes (1926)
  • Mr Fortune’s Maggot (1927)
  • The True Heart (1929)
  • Summer Will Show (1936)
  • After the Death of Don Juan (1938)
  • The Corner That Held Them (1948)
  • The Flint Anchor (1954)

Short stories

  • The Maze: A Story To Be Read Aloud (1928)
  • Some World Far From Ours; and Stay, Corydon, Thou Swain (1929)
  • Elinor Barley (1930)
  • A Moral Ending and Other Stories (1931)
  • The Salutation (1932)
  • More Joy In Heaven and Other Stories (1935)
  • 24 Short Stories, with Graham Greene and James Laver (1939)
  • The Cat’s Cradle Book (1940)
  • A Garland of Straw and Other Stories (1943)
  • The Museum of Cheats (1947)
  • Winter in the Air and Other Stories (1955)
  • A Spirit Rises (1962)
  • A Stranger With A Bag and Other Stories (1966)
  • The Innocent and the Guilty (1971)
  • Kingdoms of Elfin (1977)
  • Scenes of Childhood (1982)
  • One Thing Leading to Another and Other Stories, edited by Susanna Pinney (1984)
  • Selected Storie,s edited by Susanna Pinney and William Maxwell (1988)


  • New Collected Poems (2008)
  • Selected Poems (1985)


  • I’ll Stand by You: Selected Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland, edited by Susanna Pinney (1998)
  • The Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner, edited by William Maxwell (1982)
  • The Element of Lavishness: Letters of William Maxwell and Sylvia Townsend Warner, 1938-1978, edited by Michael Steinman (2000)

Books about her

  • Sylvia Townsend Warner: A Biography, by Claire Harman (1989)
  • This Narrow Place: Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland 1930-1951, by Wendy Mulford (1988)

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