Helene Hanff Author Spotlight | Summary and Q&A

January 23, 2022
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Helene Hanff Author Spotlight


Helene Hamf, author of "84 Charing Crossroad," had a diverse writing career and an unorthodox education, leaving behind a legacy of heartfelt and charming books.

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Key Insights

  • ✍️ Helene Hamf's unconventional education demonstrates her resourcefulness and determination to pursue her passion for writing.
  • 🥰 Her books offer a glimpse into her personal life, financial struggles, and her love for literature and the arts.
  • 💌 The 20-year correspondence documented in "84 Charing Crossroad" showcases Hamf's ability to form deep connections with people through letters and her generosity.
  • 📔 Hamf's books bring joy and nostalgia to readers, touching on themes of friendship, the love of books, and the cities she called home.


hi guys olive here here today to do an author spotlight on helene hamf author of 84 charing crossroad as well as a number of other books that i will be discussing in this video but in this video i will also be discussing helene hamf herself who she was as a person her background her writing style those types of things but obviously my focus is goin... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Helene Hamf educate herself without a formal education?

Hamf discovered Sir Arthur Quiller Couch's book on writing and his lectures at the University of Cambridge, which became her self-education, although it took her 11 years to complete the five volumes.

Q: Did Helene Hamf ever get to visit London or meet the people at Marx and Co.?

Unfortunately, Hamf experienced financial setbacks and never got the chance to visit London or meet the Marx and Co. team in person.

Q: What is the significance of "84 Charing Crossroad" in Helene Hamf's career?

"84 Charing Crossroad" is Hamf's most well-known and beloved book. It documents her correspondence with the booksellers and showcases her love for English literature and bookshops.

Q: What are some other notable books written by Helene Hamf?

Apart from "84 Charing Crossroad," Hamf wrote "Underfoot in Show Business," a memoir about her struggles as a playwright, and "Q's Legacy," a book that explores the journey and impact of "84 Charing Crossroad."

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Helene Hamf was a prolific writer who wrote six books for adults, including the beloved "84 Charing Crossroad."

  • She had a challenging upbringing and lacked a formal education but taught herself through the writings of Sir Arthur Quiller Couch.

  • Hamf's first book, "Underfoot in Show Business," discussed her experience as a struggling playwright in New York City.

  • "84 Charing Crossroad" chronicles her 20-year correspondence with Marx and Co. antiquarian booksellers in London.

  • Other books by Hamf include "Q's Legacy," "The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street," "Apple of My Eye," and "A Letter from New York."

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