Christmas is nearly here and our printers are preparing to send out the Winter issue of Slightly Foxed – our 40th! It seems no time ago – certainly not forty issues – that we were sitting round the kitchen table, arguing about a title, discussing printers and finances and page designs and paper thicknesses, and how to get the word out about a new quarterly. The cheering response to our early issues certainly supported the truth of the simple idea that had got us started in the first place – that there are many more interesting and amusing books to be read than the ones featured in the weekly review pages, and that people want to know about them.
Now the number of Slightly Foxed readers may have increased, but we still feel that each issue goes out, not just to subscribers but to friends. We’re constantly cheered and encouraged (and often amused!) by your letters and phone calls, and truly grateful for your loyalty in supporting us. We’re still a very small staff and we still discuss things round the kitchen table. Fortunately we have no need to spend too much time ‘in meetings’ – a few words over a cup of coffee, or even something stronger, will usually sort out a problem. We’ll be raising a glass of something stronger this coming Monday at our bookshop to celebrate the arrival of the Winter issue and the publication of our new Slightly Foxed Edition, Gwen Raverat’s Period Piece. This enchanting account of growing up in Victorian Cambridge at the heart of the large and idiosyncratic Darwin clan must be one of the best-loved books in the English language, and it’s hard to think of anyone with an interest in people and a sense of humour who wouldn’t enjoy it. We do hope that any of you who are local will pop by for a glass and a mince pie.
Anyway, back to the present where it’s all hands on deck in the SF office as our Slightly Foxed Editions, new Slightly Foxed Cubs and Paperbacks are snapped up in preparation for Christmas. The newest of our Slightly Foxed Paperbacks is Edward Ardizzone’s delightfully illustrated memoir, The Young Ardizzone. It wasn’t supposed to be published until the Spring but as our printers delivered early copies and as it would make such a nice Christmas present, we thought we’d make it available now.
Read on for an extract from The Young Ardizzone, details of two parties at our bookshop in the coming weeks, and a special offer for Slightly Foxed readers from The Raverat Archive.