Did you know there are still some people in the world who haven't read every single Galley Beggar Press book? I know! I feel sad about it too - and also, guilty. As a publisher one of my main jobs is to explain how good our books are, how important our writers are and how much you'll get for yourself from reading their work. If there are still people out there who haven't read these magnificent works of art, what am I here for?
Anyway. I’m hoping to avert this potential existential crisis, and, more importantly to raise some much needed funds for future print runs, and more yet still importantly still to give our existing authors a boost as they're working on future classics. We've having a sale basically. And a big one.
Also, a sale that has two offers.
(1) For the next fortnight, we're offering 40% off every title in our backlist.
That's the easy bit. (Kind of! The catch in our store is that the discount isn't registered until you get to the checkout stage. But it will be there at the end of the process.)
(2) The more complicated, but, hopefully also appealing, offer is that for every pre-order of Ducks, Newburyport, Patience or Mordew, you get to chose a FREE book from a selection of these four fine novels:
- Anthony Trevelyan, The Weightless World
- Jonathan Gibbs, Randall
- Toby Litt, Wrestiliana
- Simon Gough, The White Goddess
The trick here is to make sure to write your choice of backlist title in the 'additional notes' of your order, which should pop up at checkout. ... (Oh! While I'm at it: Do make sure to tick the right shipping zone, too.) The backlist books will be sent to you immediately, so you have something good to read while you wait for those splendid new titles.
I've said quite a bit about Lucy, Toby, and Alex's incredible new novels over the course of the past few newsletters - and will have plenty more to say when they arrive. So for now, I'll leave off, and focus on the backlist. ... But I also want to do it without taking too much space. So I'll give a very brief summary below - and fervently hope that you click through on the links to read more about each book.
Anthony Trevelyan - The Weightless World. First line: "RAYMOND ESS is going to kill me." And it keeps on going from there. Anthony's novel was longlisted or the Desmond Elliott prize, its fans include Preti Taneja, it's about an anti-gravity device and it's all kinds of wonderful.
Jonathan Gibbs, Randall. Also longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, also superb, Randall is a book that "reviewers pray for" according to The Guardian - and a moving, shocking and very funny story about the 1990s art world, shortly after Damien Hurst was run over by a train and killed. Yes, he was.
Toby Litt, Wrestliana. Wrestling! Poetry! Poet-Wrestlers! And also, one of the most insightful and touching books you can hope to read about the creative process, coming to terms with your place in the world and learning to fail better. Patience is on the way. It deserves to be huge. And this is the book that will whet your appetite.
Simon Gough, The White Goddess. Our first book. We didn't know much about publishing when we started - but we did know we had something special on our hands. This story of a lost era, lost love and the unique genius of a damaged and magnificent poet Robert Graves, who changed our world - and maybe even the course of 21st century literature. You have to read it.
But it doesn't end there! Other titles that are individually discounted are:
Megan Dunn, Tinderbox. A book about writing a book about burning books. But also about not writing that book - and watching the book world (in the form of Borders) collapse around you. This is an extraordinary, moving and also very funny work of non-fiction, one of the books readers most often write to us to praise and summed up beautifully in this video.
Alex Pheby, Playthings. You might find this hard to believe, but sometimes I say stupid antsy things on social media. Or I write stupid antsy books like Crap Towns and Enemies Of The People. People ask me who the hell I think I am to say and write such stupid antsy things, and I think, yes, they're kind of right. But also, I think that what the hell, I am one of the people who published Playthings by Alex Pheby. And that counts for a lot.
Gonzalo C Garcia, We Are The End. We Are The End is the smart and funny debut from Gonzalo G. Garcia, a story of loss, more loss, and desperate attempts to come to terms with loss. (Attempts that generally result in, yes, yet more loss - and also unexpected joy and hope and laughter.) It's wonderful. It's also, incidentally, a vivid and fascinating evocation of Santiago, a city like no other. For all kinds of reasons...
Paul Ewen, Francis Plug, How To Be A Public Author. Francis! “One thinks of Goethe, one thinks of Shelley: one thinks of Plug. He is a force of nature, he is sage, bard and prophet: he is in addition a random menace, and at all times you need to know exactly where he is. They say there are no statues to critics. But the fourth plinth awaits Francis. Perhaps he can be chained to it.” So says Hilary Mantel. Amazingly, he survived the first book and wrote the equally astonishing Writer In Residence. He has brought us such joy.
Adam Biles, Feeding Time. This is Adam Biles' wild, beautiful, brilliant debut novel - and a blast of rage against the dying of the light. It got superb reviews in the UK, it's huge in France and we love it to bits. (Favourite endorsement: "Like Dickens on acid.") Once you've met Ruggles and the other inhabitants of the Green Oaks retirement home, you'll understand why.
Paul Stanbridge - Forbidden Line. A book so special, they had to invent a prize for it. The winner of the inaugural Republic Of Consciousness Prize for debut fiction, a novel that "bursts with invention" according to the TLS, and a god-damn freaking work of deranged genius, Forbidden Line is nothing short of extraordinary. David Collard called this "one of the books of the decade" - and that's an understatement.
Preti Taneja - We that are young. ‘Revelatory. Urgent and irresistible. … One of the most exquisite and original novels of the year.’ So said The Sunday Times, and that was just the beginning. Since then it's been published to huge acclaim around the world, it's won The Desmond Elliott prize, and it's astonished and delighted thousands of readers. Aren't we lucky?!
Well, those are some books. After starting all angsty, I'm now feeling good about things. You can also pick up ebooks of the beautiful Everlasting Lane by Andrew Lovett if you want to complete the set - although we can't include that in the sale because paper copies have sold out. That happens sometimes. So get your books now.
Oh! Our school is also going from strength to strength. We've started doing our first editorial reports and have been getting great feedback. There are a few places left at our critical reading, critical writing class in the Autumn and we're even offering mentorships.
More on that below... Meanwhile, a quick dispatch from the literary elsewhere. Last night I helped launch We’ll Never Have Paris at the wonderful Burley Fisher, in That London.
I’m very proud that there are quite a few Galley Beggar writers in it, alongside a very healthy percentage of the writers who are Doing Good Stuff. There are 79 contributors to this collection - and more to the point, it's fantastic. I had a blast being the MC at the launch. The readings were just great. I was proud to be there. Here's the view from the stage. Standing room only:
Andrew Gallix, the editor, is one of the pillars of our world. Only Andrew would have had so many fantastic writers so eager to contribute to a project like this one. It's a fine idea for a book. To write about Paris, but the Paris that doesn't exist, the Anglophone vision of Paris, the dream of Paris... Anyway, you'll see how well it works when you dive into its hundreds of pages and see how varied the contributions are. And it’s not just this book, it’s all the fantastic things Andrew – and 3AM – have done over the years. Among our generation of writers and publishers, there are very few who haven’t been encouraged, helped and published by him. Chances are that he'll have helped you if you're a writer or publisher who isn't quite at home in the big world, who has crazy romantic dreams about Art and Posterity and who instantly understands the 3AM tagline: whatever it is, we're against it. Quietly – rarely putting himself in the foreground – but unstoppably, he has moved things forward. In other words, please buy his book - and enjoy it too. Because the other thing Andrew and 3AM have always been good at is making it fun.
Okay! That's enough for now. Once I've scheduled this letter I'm going to vote in the European elections. I'll be voting against the Faragists, fascists and growing darkness, of course. I feel apprehensive. But also, determined. They've cheated and bullied and lied their way to a horrible kind of ascendancy at the moment, but the struggle continues. We resist. Voting is a small part of that, so I hope you enjoy it today.
Here's our longer note about the school section of our website. Since it went up we've already had enough sign-ups to make it viable. Yay! It is happening again. (Thanks so much to everyone who's signed up. We'll be getting in touch soon with logistics. And books! There are still plenty more spaces on the course - but they are filling up quite quickly, so get in when you can.)
Oh! Here's the blurb in case you're wondering:
I'm happy to say that the successful ‘Critical reading, critical writing’ course is now taking bookings for a new term. This is a class where we dig into books from a critical and editorial point of view, trying to work out the clever things the writers have done in their creation... But also, because these are novels, talk about what they say to us, what they mean to us and all those other important things that come out of engaging with literature. It's been a blast for the past two years, we've had some fine discussions; the people attending have had fantastic things to say - and, if I'm really honest - have taught me more than I've taught them. There are always new things to discover in novels and that's what makes this class so enjoyable.
Here are the logistics: Places will be limited to 20 people per class, and the course - which is held in Bloomsbury - will run for a six-month period, with six classes to a course (running for two hours per session). For the autumn course, the selected titles are:
Monday 11 November 2019 (18:30–20:30) – Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time
Monday 9 December 2019 (18:30–20:30) – Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier
Monday 13 January 2020 (18:30–20:30) – Angela Carter, Wise Children
Monday 10 February 2020 (18:30–20:30) – James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room
Monday 16 March 2020 (18:30–20:30) – Terry Pratchett, Night Watch
Monday 13 April 2020 (18:30–20:30) – Preti Taneja, We that are young.
Pretty durn fine books! It costs £160 and we're taking bookings now. (Oh yeah! An extra incentive: And you'll get a copy of We that are young sent out to you, just as soon as you sign up.)
(Just as a flavour, here's a review of a few Hemingway stories I wrote for the wonderful Jonathan Gibbs. I promise I won't be quite this over the top in the school. Although we will dig deep into how it is that Big Two Hearted River says so much about so many things it doesn't even mention. Papa! He had his problems. But he could write them... )
We've also updated our editorial feedback service. Full details are on the site. We hope that this will be a really useful way to get professional advice on a work in progress and about the wider publishing landscape. (Please also note that we're offering free reports to low-earners. We can only currently afford to do this for every ten conventional reports we complete. But if you are feeling the pinch, please don't feel that you shouldn't contact us. You should.
PPS Hello people who read all the way to the end! Even past the adverts. You're the greatest. I've been listening to Live At The Main Point again. Put that on loud, blast the roof off the top of your house and get fortified by the e-l-e-c-t-r-i-c-i-t-y. Also! My very good friend Ed bought me an album by Real Estate that sounds like the lovely woozy end of a long hot summer day. Makes you want to swim in a lake and drink a lovely long cold beer.