It’s been a while since we’ve sent a letter. So: brace, brace, brace! We’ve got a whole lot of news to get through.
It feels a bit like Galley Beggar has been in temporary hibernation. But! We (and when I say ‘we’, I mainly mean ‘Elly’) have been working hard behind the scenes, getting our next books ready for publication. It’s been a great and fertile time and our writers have achieved special things. But I suppose we haven’t done that much out in public since the end of our short story competition. (As long as you don't include Elly’s epic Twitter threads about the iniquities of the discounts and returns system in publishing, anyway).
But it’s okay that we haven’t been out of Norwich all that much, because our wonderful authors have been passing the flame all around the world.
As well as getting tremendous reader appreciation over here in the UK, Megan Dunn’s Tinderbox has been storming New Zealand.
Here’s a quick sample of the kind of notices she’s been getting:
Tinderbox is a ‘witty, highly entertaining essay’ according to Stuff.NZ
It's a ‘flaming good read’ according to Alyson Baker.
The Spin Off made it a book of the week and called it ‘dry and pessimistic, and totally compulsive reading’.
Harry Ricketts praised it to the sky on New Zealand radio.
And back here in the UK Book Blast gave it a lovely review too.
Go Megan! We still have a few limited editions left.
Meanwhile, I can’t tell you what a blast it was to be in India with Preti Taneja in January. She was wonderful at the Jaipur Literary Festival - and it was unspeakably exciting to see the Indian edition of We that are young in Delhi bookshops.
And then, there are the reviews she’s been getting. If I start listing them all it will take all day, so I’m just going to highlight the most recent that I’ve seen, from the Hindustan Times a couple of weeks ago. This is a paper with a circulation of almost one million people, reporting the biggest news on one of the world’s most important countries - and it described Preti’s novel as ‘angry and brilliant’. Which it is. And more.
Remarkably, we still have a few blackflaps of We that are young in our house. I sort of don’t want to sell them because they’re going to be so collectible in the future... But we haven’t taken them out of the store yet. So get yours while you can.
Meanwhile, over in Paris, this amazing book has just emerged.
Adam Biles’ Feeding Time has been translated and published by Grasset, and oh boy are they doing a good job. He’s been reviewed in a magazine for old folks, on French TV ‘Defense De Nourrire Les Vieux’ was described as a wonderful novel, Technikart have praised it like crazy and said it’s poignant and redolent with ‘so-British’ humour and - oh boy - no less than Le Figaro ran a huge, beautiful profile of Adam and said: ‘Witty, dark, hilarious, this novel is a courageous reflection on old age and a huge burst of laughter at the absurdity of life.’
Okay! Phew! It doesn’t end there. Because Alex Pheby’s Playthings is also about to launch in North America with the awesome Biblioasis. He’s already been a pick of the season in The Globe, and the mighty Kirkus Reviews say Playthings is ‘intense and immersive’.
Talking of Alex Pheby. Look out!
We’ve been sending proofs of Lucia out this week and ohmygod. It’s going to hit you soon. Lucia is an immortal work of art. It will tear you apart, atom by atom, before reconstructing you in a new, better (but also quietly weeping) configuration. Make your pact with forever by pre-ordering it here.
It goes on! I promise I’ll end this newsletter some day. But not right now. Because there’s more glorious prose to come. Look:
Actual printed products! We have copies of Toby Litt’s beautiful book about wrestling, failing, failing better, Cumbria, manhood, life, history, creative writing... everything.
It launches on 3 May and I don’t want to jinx things too much by talking for talking too long about the fine feeling I’m getting about how this book is going to go... So let me just say how proud Elly and I are to be publishing it. It’s thoughtful, gentle, humane - and brilliant.
We’re going to be celebrating Toby’s achievement in the gorgeous Fitzrovia Chapel on the 9th of May at 7pm. Please RSVP Elly if you’d like to come. We’re going to be doing some other events outside London soon too - so watch this space.
And in the meantime, the limited editions came through the door while I was writing this letter:
Please buy one so we can have our room back! And also so you can share in the joy of this excellent book.
While we’re discussing dates, please notch 16 June in your diary. We’re going to be running a strand at the Greenwich Book Festival. We’ll have lots of authors there - as well as superb writers from other small presses. More details on that soon too.
We’ll also soon be announcing details of an event to celebrate the fantastic stories that made it through to the final rounds of our short story competition. And also our winner, C.S. Mee. You can read her story 'Brothers’ here. Also here’s a link to ten questions she answered for us. Parenthood and writing... It can be done... Just...
Right. Here’s a blast of information about how much it helps us if you buy from our website shop and how it might help you, if we’re all lucky:
(i) direct sales (as well as the support of our subscribers) do genuinely make the difference between sink and swim for small presses - and they certainly do for us.
(ii) Elly is applying for a PhD on modernism and small presses in the 1920s - she knows how much those books go for (all of them, the lesser known titles and the *big* ones), and there’s a mighty fine good chance that you'll be giving your pension - and your descendants - a lovely boost, as well as a piece of literary history. So get to it! (And head to the websites of all those other glorious small presses and literary endeavours, too...)
To give you an extra incentive, we’ll also hand over a 30% discount code - APRILNEWS - available until the end of the month. Just type it into the promotions box, at checkout.
This long letter is long. We’re almost there. But before we get to the end, a public service announcement: Fuck this fucking country and its fucking government from dawn to dusk, all night, the next morning and the whole cycle again with added spikes from thereonin for eternity.
It looks like something might at last be done to end the persecution of the Windrush generation - but let’s not also forget that May’s Brexit government is still talking about persecuting people who are in the UK ‘illegally’, and has shamefully abused our European friends and neighbours living in this country. The fact that the fool-mob in power fail to understand how the rights system works and will destroy the UK publishing industry just feels incidental to this colossal evil.
The shame they have brought us is unbearable. And shame is the least of it. They have brought pain to people who have done nothing wrong except live. Forgive me for stating what should be the absolute obvious - but things have gone so crazy it has to be said again and again: Britain is richer and better for having people from all around the world in it. Anyone reading this letter who doesn't happen to be some autochthonous ubermensch or pure Anglo-Saxon (which is to say, everyone) is more than welcome in our world. You make us better. We’re lucky to have you as friends and neighbours. We’re richer for your company, too. So: Great heaving bags of freshly cropped fucks to any fascist who tries to make you feel otherwise.
Right - onwards.
Toodlepip, and down with the Nazis,
P.S. You made it this far! Amazing. Here’s a treat for you. It’s the new Andrew W.K. video. It might be too subtle for some people. But I think you can cope... (Pretty sure Andrew W.K. should be the next President of the USA.)
Talking of Andrew W.K., Gonzalo Garcia recently let me know that he once met King Party himself. And partied hard. I’m dying with jealousy. Gonzalo’s also just been telling me about his next book too. I can’t say more because it will make you want to become a publisher and make him an offer before he’s even had chance to start it... But oh boy. He’s so great.