Sue Roe is an acclaimed biographer and poet with a strong interest in the visual arts. Her first biography, Gwen John : A Life (Chatto & Windus, 2001), reveals that the painter best known for her quiet, restrained portraits of women was surprisingly ardent and exuberant. The Private Lives of the Impressionists (Chatto & Windus, 2006) shows how daring the early Impressionsts seemed by the standards of their own times. In Montmartre (Penguin, 2014) illuminates Picasso’s early years in Paris, when suddenly all the arts (painting, writing, film, dance) seemed to be happening in parallel.
Sue Roe’s early scholarship was on Virginia Woolf, the subject of her PhD, and she has published a number of articles on Woolf. Her critical book, Writing and Gender: Virginia Woolf’s Writing Practice (Harvester/Wheatsheaf, 1990) explores Woolf’s processes of composition. She is co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and editor of the Penguin Modern Classics edition of Jacob’s Room. Her teaching is inspired by her scholarship and her editorial experience. She has taught BA, MA and PhD students at various universities, and before that worked as a Commissioning Editor for two academic publishing houses.
These days she divides her time between research for her books, which includes exploring the galleries of Paris as well as copious reading, and writing. She likes to work with a good view of the colourful garden her partner Steve has created while she drafts – and re-drafts – her work.