We're in the final preparations for heading out on our holiday, and I am happy to report that, after having my nose to the grindstone for the past several weeks, I did FINALLY manage to finish a new update of my main list (see here). This was an enormous amount of work, going on over the past several months, with in one sense very little payoff, so I'm terribly relieved that it's done and I can head off on vacay without it looming over me!
I was making dozens and dozens of corrections or revisions that had accumulated over the past couple of years (from friends or relatives of authors emailing to provide information, or kindly folks noticing errors, or simply things I realized needed revising or updating). I added links to reviews from the past couple of years, mentioned Furrowed Middlebrow reprints where applicable, and, very sadly, had to add death dates to a number of authors (including Jane Hervey, Emma Smith, Rosamunde Pilcher, and Gillian Freeman)—always a melancholy moment. I also, after several months of searching Ancestry and newspapers.com, was able to make edits in hundreds of entries to add more detailed life and death dates, married names, etc. On a happy note, in the process I also was able, often in coordination with the incomparable John Herrington, to identify several previously unidentified authors.
The reason I said the payoff was in one sense rather small is that I realize that for most of you, details of life and death dates and marriages and such are not of riveting interest, so the bulk of the work involved in this update won't matter much to you. Still, as I started the list not particularly focusing on those details, and relying on sources that weren't always very accurate, I felt that a thorough revisiting of many of the authors was necessary, particularly since the list now includes the only significant online information about hundreds of lesser-known authors. It had better be correct then!
On the other hand, the new version of the list does include well over a hundred new authors, some of them quite intriguing. After our return from holiday, I'll be putting together some posts to highlight those authors, and indeed I will share my experiences in reading a number of them (the update has been in-process for quite a long time, so I have lots of reading to report on here somewhere along the line).
And before moving on to the second thing, I have to say a thousand apologies to all the people who have emailed me or commented on the blog or reviewed new Furrowed Middlebrow titles and have received a deathly silence in return. My guilt about that is the only dark cloud still hanging over our vacation, and I am really sorry to have been so out of touch. Rest assured, however, that I have read your emails/comments and enjoyed them, and I'm grateful to all of you. Now that the update is finished, I hope to begin resurfacing from my more or less subterranean existence!
In fact, believe it or not, the second thing I want to mention is actually a request for readers to get in touch with me! (Please don't let my abysmal record as an email correspondent discourage you from doing so...)
I've always been envious of the lucky readers who have been able to attend one of Persephone's lovely "Possibly Persephone" events, whereat folks can make a case for the books they think Persephone should reprint in the future. Being so green with envy, you would think the sluggish synapses in my brain would have led me to this before now, but suddenly the other day I thought, "Why can't I do something similar?" I mean, I can't very well host a gathering and serve tea and cakes, but I can at least use the forum of this blog to make an appeal to my brilliant, eclectic, well-read followers.
So here it is: What out of print book or books do you think we should consider reprinting as Furrowed Middlebrow titles?
Please do bear in mind the overarching focus of our imprint:
- primarily early to mid-20th century British women writers
- generally novels, though exceptional memoirs certainly fit
- often humorous in tone
- often domestic in theme, focused on ordinary people and day-to-day life
- strong characters and great storytelling
- often featuring World War II home front settings
- generally aimed at adult readers, though we have flirted with the idea of some very strong titles originally marketed for teens or young adults, if adult readers today are likely to enjoy them
- out of print in any editions in both the U.K. and U.S.
Obviously, not all of these characteristics fit everything we've published (though the last is pretty much a must), but they can serve as general guidelines. And of course, if a book is exceptional enough and likely to be enjoyed by our readers, exceptions might be made (for example, if Persephone hadn't published R. C. Sherriff's The Fortnight in September, you can bet I'd have one male author on my list by now!).
Please leave your suggestions in the comments below if you are able to do so, or if not feel free to email them to me (address at bottom of page) and I'll share them in the comments myself. And please feel free to share this post widely with friends, bloggers, and any other book-y types who may have interesting suggestions. (Note that since I'll be on holiday, I might be checking email only once or twice per day, and since I have to moderate comments or the blog would be deluged with spam, there could be a bit of a delay between you leaving your comment and it actually appearing online—don't let that discourage you!)
This post will have pride of place here until we return (at which time I'll be previewing the covers of January's new Furrowed Middlebrow titles...).
Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!