Somerville College features in My Life in Houses, an autobiography by Margaret Forster (1957, History) which tells the story of the author’s life through the lens of the buildings in which she has lived.

Forster, born in Carlisle in 1938, moved from her home town to Oxford in 1957 to take up a Coombs Scholarship. She writes in the book that “the ebb and flow of human traffic” outside her Somerville bedroom marked a noticeable change from the quieter neighbourhood of her childhood.

The book received five stars in a review in The Telegraph, which described it as “beautiful and profound…an exquisite personification, an exploration of a relationship that alters just as all human relationships do, sometimes intense, sometimes disappointing, often reassuring and above all providing protection, continuity and occasionally a means of survival.”

Forster has written more than 20 novels and ten works of biography and history, and has picked up several literary awards.

A review of My Life in Houses can be found on the website of The Telegraph.

Further reading?

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