Adeline Virginia Stephen was born on 25 January 1882 in London. Her father was Leslie Stephen (1832-1904), the first editor of the Dictionary of National Biography. Virginia's mother was Julia Margaret Cameron (1846-95). Both Virginia's parents had been previously married and so, in total, there were eight children living at 22 Hyde Park Gate, Kensington. Summers were spent in St Ives.
While at Cambridge, Virgina's younger brother, Thoby, befriended Leonard Woolf, Clive Bell, Saxon Sydney-Turner, Lytton Strachey and Maynard Keynes. This was the nucleus of the Bloomsbury Group. Leonard Woolf was also to become Virginia's husband in 1912.
"Virginia was allowed uncensored access to her father’s extensive library, and from an early age determined to be a writer. Her education was sketchy and she never went to school."
After her mother's unexpected death in 1895 death, Virginia suffered her first mental breakdown. When her father died in 1904, Virginia had her second breakdown.
Virginia began writing her first novel, The Voyage Out in 1908. "It was finished by 1913 but, owing to another severe mental breakdown after her marriage, it was not published until 1915 by Duckworth & Co." Her second novel, Night and Day, was published in 1919. Virginia is best known for her novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To The Lighthouse (1927) and The Waves (1931).