‘My starting point for the Jamestown book was a manuscript list of nearly sixty women sent over to Virginia, which I consulted one freezing December morning in the Pepys Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge.’
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In researching her biography of the artist Gwen John, Sue Roe sifted through hundreds of letters and notebooks, in archives held in Aberystwyth, Paris and New York. From these, she came to know a very different woman from the fragile recluse of popular myth.
‘I must not be present-centric as opposed to ethnocentric; I must try and free myself of the assumption that the time in which I live is intrinsically better.’
‘I feel a kick in the stomach, a tug at the heart, and I know that this germ of an idea might just grow into my next book, but I need to be sure. ‘