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Born in 1893, Vera Brittain won an exhibition to Somerville College, Oxford, in 1914, but a year later abandoned her studies to enlist as a VAD nurse. She served throughout the war, working in London, Malta and close to the Front in France. At the end of the war, with all of those closest to her dead, she returned to Oxford. Vera Brittain was a convinced pacifist, a prolific speaker, lecturer, journalist and writer, she devoted much of her energy to the causes of peace and feminism. She wrote 29 books in all, novels, poetry, biography and autobiography, but it was Testament of Youth which established her reputation and made her one of the best-loved writers of her time. She died in 1970.
TESTAMENT OF YOUTH is one of the most famous autobiographies of the First World War. It has now been made into a film, which has been scripted by Juliette Towhidi and is being produced by BBC Films and Heyday Films, the makers of Harry Potter. Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina) stars as Brittain, with Kit Harington (Game of Thrones, Pompeii) playing her fiancé Roland Leighton. Testament of Youth is Vera Brittain's account of how she survived those agonising years; how she lost the man she loved; how she nursed the wounded and how she emerged into an altered world. A passionate record of a lost generation, it made Vera Brittain one of the best-loved writers of her time, and has lost none of its power to shock, move and enthral readers since its first publication in 1933. A further title, Vera Brittain and the First World War: The Story of Testament of Youth is published to coincide with the new edition of Testament of Youth and explores the effects of the First World War on Vera Brittain, both in terms of her personal life and in terms of its effect on her development as a writer and her eventual decision to become a pacifist. Taking advantage of the interest generated by the film, it will bring her story to a new generation and incorporate the most up-to-date research. It will also include a short essay 'From Book to Film', describing the process of turning Testament of Youth into a major feature film. This will include interviews with the production staff and actors, as well as with members of Vera Brittain's family, including Shirley Williams. The film version of Testament of Youth is released in UK cinemas on Friday 16 January 2015. Click below to view the trailer.
In 1914 Vera Brittain was 20, and as war was declared she was preparing to study at Oxford. Four years later her life - and the life of her whole generation - had changed in a way that would have been unimaginable in the tranquil pre-war era.
In 1914 Vera Brittain was eighteen and, as war was declared, she was preparing to study at Oxford. Four years later her life - and the life of her whole generation - had changed in a way that was unimaginable in the tranquil pre-war era. TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, one of the most famous autobiographies of the First World War, is Brittain's account of how she survived the period; how she lost the man she loved; how she nursed the wounded and how she emerged into an altered world. A passionate record of a lost generation, it made Vera Brittain one of the best-loved writers of her time.