Born in Paris to American parents, then educated mainly in England, Winn said she switches back and forth between accents, speaking to her English husband in an English accent and to her American parents in an American accent. Today, Winn and Turner live in Brooklyn with their young daughter and a longhaired cat named Colonel Widdershins. (“Widdershins” is an old word for counterclockwise, she said, and it shocked her and her husband that no one in America seems to know this.)
Winn is dyslexic and didn’t learn to read until she was 9 years old. But once she began, she read widely, she said, and now has a particular affection for old books.
When she discovered the Marlburian archives about four years ago, she was researching Siegfried Sassoon, a World War I poet, after reading “Good-Bye to All That,” an autobiography by Robert Graves published in 1929. Sassoon, who is written about in the book, attended Marlborough, and she wondered if he had ever published poems in the student paper. In the process, she encountered the other students at Marlborough and immersed herself in their world, even as it was falling apart.
“You get to know them,” said Winn, 30, of the students in The Marlburian. “You feel like you’re watching this tiny little society just be completely destroyed and dismantled.”
Gráinne Lenehan, an archivist at Marlborough, said the editors of The Marlburian were always students, “very academic types,” she said, bound for Oxford or Cambridge, high ranking positions in academia or the military, or administrative roles in the colonies.
“Whilst all this coverage of Marlburian involvement in the war did indeed become a marked feature of the school magazine during those years, the regular features chronicling school life carried on,” she said, “much as school life did.”