What Not hoopla
As mentioned last month, we finally republished Rose Macaulay’s lost 1918 novel What Not on 25 March, attended by much hoopla. The official launch of the book took place at The Second Shelf in London, in the form of a Q&A with Kate and Sarah Lonsdale of City University London, author of our edition’s introduction, being interviewed by the literary journalist Lucy Scholes. We then had cocktails and mocktails, and David’s train allowed him make it to the drinks section of the evening, which was a treat. Kate may be making most of Handheld’s public appearances, but Handheld could not exist without David’s work and support.
The hoopla continued with Kate flying to Madrid to do a small but packed Q&A on What Not, and readings, in the inestimable independent bookshop Desperate Literature. Terry Craven, the bookshop’s manager and part-owner, had discovered the existence of a remarkable piece of Latin American science fiction, a novel called Eugenia from 1919 that also features eugenics as a solution to war-making, showing that the focus on eugenics in What Not was part of a misguided international pacifist zeitgeist.
What Not’s reviews
The reviews just keep coming in: our What Not page on the website collects them together in a convenient paragraph of links. Two highlights: Claire Hazelton reviewed What Not for the Guardian on 28 March: ‘Her writing is stirring, funny, uniquely imaginative. This book should not be forgotten again.’ Lucy Scholes reviewed What Not in The Times on 13 April: ‘Aided by an enlightening introduction, along with the handy end-notes to illuminate any mystifying period-specific detail, What Not is an often witty, wild ride that deserves rediscovery.’ We know of at least one more review in a national UK publication that’s been promised, so perhaps we’ll be able to trumpet it too, next month.
Our publishing schedule for 2020 is almost full, already, and we’ve begun filling up 2021 as well. Last week we signed contracts for four new republications: three by Rose Macaulay, and a fourth which will remain a secret until you see the cover, next month.
Our new Rose Macaulays will be (as Lucy Scholes says) her ‘straightforwardly entertaining best-selling murder-mystery-cum-satire that attacks the tabloid press’, Potterism (1920), and a collection of Macaulay’s Second World War writing to include her best short story ‘Miss Anstruther’s Letters’. In 2021 we’ll be republishing Macaulay’s outstanding First World War novel about pacifism and peace, Non-Combatants and Others. Covers for these will be presented to you in due course.
Vonda N McIntyre, The Exile Waiting
Last month we told you about having contracted to republish Vonda N McIntyre’s groundbreaking first novel The Exile Waiting, and then being told the sad, sad news that Vonda would not live much longer. Well, we moved everything around that could be moved, and will be publishing Exile on 21 October. Jane Cornwell finished the artwork in very quick time, and our rapid response designer Nadja created the cover in time for Vonda to see it, and approve it. She died several days later, but she knew that her first novel was well on its way back to print.
We’ll be launching The Exile Waiting at FantasyCon in Glasgow and at BristolCon, in October. The cover interprets the novel’s setting; a vast city built of spiralling helixes that support glass domes, against a backdrop of the stars.
Our website is getting renovated
As we type, our website is being remodelled and painted by Mike and Sharon of Siserone, our silent but doughty web service providers. Normal website service will continue just as you’d expect, but sometime in the next few weeks a beautiful new look will spring upon you when you click on our homepage. Just wait and see.
Handheld on YouTube
Also as we type, we are awaiting the arrival of our film crew (Kath, our Instagram manager), and Fiona our marketing manager. They will be creating a series of video clips of Kate talking about each of our books, the back stories, why we chose to publish them, what we particularly love about them, and what you’ll find in them when you begin to read. The clips will be posted on the new website, and all over our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds. They will also populate our new YouTube channel: all links will be given in the next Newsletter.
It’s the season of wild garlic: go out and smell the flowers!
Kate & David