March 12, 2019

The “Burn Book” authored by Virginia Woolf instead of Regina George


The grandchildren of novelist Margaret Kennedy (1896-1967) recently found an interesting collaborative work that seems to be the 1920’s equivalent of the Burn Book as seen in the 2004 movie Mean Girls.

William Mackesy, a literary executor, and his cousin discovered the book in their grandmother’s belongings and are happy to share that their grandmother was not nearly as brutal as Regina George and the other plastics in their version of the book. The Burn Book found in Kennedy’s papers is titled Really and Truly: A Book of Literary Confessions, according to Mackesy’s feature in The Independent.

Who actually started the book is a mystery, but it’s made up of 39 printed questions and 10 handwritten answers from authors such as Rose Macaulay, Rebecca West, Hilaire Belloc, Stella Benson, Virginia Woolf, and of course, Margaret Kennedy.

Mackesy was surprised to find how many answers this literary group agreed on. For example, most writers agreed that Shakespeare was a genius and one of the greatest writers to ever live while DH Lawrence and James Joyce were both voted the most overrated English living writers (burn!).

Our personal favorite response is from Rebecca West:

Q: Whose work is likely to be read in 25 years?

A: Me.



Christina Cerio is the Manager of Direct Sales & Special Projects at Melville House.