Winifred Holtby wrote as a journalist for more than twenty newspapers and magazines, including The Yorkshire Post, the Manchester Guardian, the feminist journal, Time and Tide, and a regular weekly article for the trade union magazine, The Schoolmistress. She also produced a critical study of Virginia Woolf and a volume of short stories, Truth is Not Sober.

A pacifist, she lectured extensively for the League of Nations Union, attending the League’s assemblies as a writer and speaker every year from 1923 to 1930. A critic of the class system, inherited privileges and sex inequality, she was active in the Independent Labour Party and the Six Point Group. In 1929 Holtby published A New Voter’s Guide to Party Programmes, directed at women shortly after they first got the vote in the UK.

She travelled throughout Europe in the post-war period, In 1926 Winifred accepted an invitation to tour South Africa establishing a branch of the League of Nations Union in Ladysmith, helping set up a black transport workers’ union in Johannesburg and studying the effects of discrimination. She campaigned against racial discrimination and raised money for education, grants and sponsorships until the end of her life. Her observations of racism found their way into the novel Mandoa, Mandoa!

Winifred’s story ‘The Celebrity Who Failed’ features in Light Transports.