S.1. Vita Sackville-West

Author: Vita Sackville-West

Profile: Vita Sackville-West was an English author, novelist, poet and a garden designer. She was born in Knole House, Kent, England and died in Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, England. Harold Nicolson is her spouse. Victoria Mary Sackville-West, Lady Nicolson is popularly known as Vita Sackville-West.

Not only was she a successful poet, novelist and journalist but also a creative diarist and letter writer. Thirteen novels and more than a dozen poetry collections have been published by her during her whole life.

Vita was born in Kent at the home of Vita’s aristocratic ancestors and was the only child. Her grandmother was an acrobat and Spanish dancer and Lionel her father began living with his mistress. The girl Victoria Mary Sackville-West was called ‘Vita’ so that she could be distinguished from her mother (who was also known as Victoria). As her father followed English aristocratic inheritance customs, Vita was unable to inherit Knole after her father’s death which caused bitterness for her all her life.

Vita Sackville-West had been the inspiration for the protagonist, Orlando: A Biography, by Virginia Woolf, her famous lover and friend. In The Observer (1946-1961) she has had a longstanding column. She is remembered for the celebrated garden at Sissinghurst created with Sir Harold Nicolson, her husband.

Writing style: Vita Sackville-West’s genre is Georgic Poetry.

Published Texts:


Poetry collections

1909 – Chatterton

1912 – A Dancing Elf

1915 – Constantinople: Eight Poems

1917 – Poems of West and East

1921 – Orchard and Vineyard

1926 – The Land

1929 – King’s Daughter

1931 – Sissinghurst

1931 – Invitation to Cast out Care

1933 – Collected Poems: Volume 1

1938 – Solitude

1946 – The Garden


1919 – Heritage

1921 – The Dragon in the Shallow Waters

1922 – The Heir

1923 – Challenge

1923 – Grey Wethers

1924 – Seducers in Ecuador

1926 – Passenger to Teheran

1930 – The Edwardians

1931 – All Passion Spent

1932 – The Death of Noble Godavary and Gottfried Kunstler

1932 – Thirty Clocks Strike the Hour – short stories

1932 – Family History

1934 – The Dark Island

1942 – Grand Canyon

1947 – Devil at Westease

1953 – The Easter Party

1961 – No Signposts in the Sea



Duineser Elegien: Elegies from the Castle of Duino

Biographies and non-fiction

1927 – ‘Aphra Behn: the Incomparable Astrea

1926 – Passenger toTeheran

1922 – Knole and the Sackvilles

1936 – Saint Joan of Arc

1941 – English Country Houses

1937 – Pepita

1943 – The Eagle and The Dove

Twelve Days: an account of a journey across the Bakhtiari Mountains of South-western Persia

1940 – Country Notes in Wartime


Awards and Acknowledgements:

1927 – Awarded the Hawthornden Prize for Imaginative Literature (for The Land – her pastoral epic)

1933 – Awarded the Hawthornden Prize for her Collected Poems

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