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‘Reading some of these letters, you have to pinch yourself . . .’ | The Oxford Book of Letters | From the Slightly Foxed archives

Greetings from Slightly Foxed. We’re sorry if it’s taken a little longer than usual for us to reply to you of late, dear readers, but we have been inundated with charming, cheering and heartfelt missives of congratulation for Editors Gail and Hazel on their recently awarded MBEs. To all of you who wrote, rang or simply sent good thoughts in our direction, Gail and Hazel and, indeed, the rest of the Slightly Foxed staff would like to convey our thanks. We wouldn’t be where we are today, and certainly not receiving gongs from His Majesty the King, without your unerring support. We’ve included a few of our favourites from this week’s messages below for your enjoyment.

We appreciate all forms of communication here at SF but there’s something particularly wonderful about the letter: ‘I can recommend it as a means to think about what we have in common with each other. The amount of trust – in the postal system, in language, in the other person – encoded in each letter is staggering’, writes Victoria Neumark in her article on the Oxford Book of Letters in Slightly Foxed Issue No. 13.

Please read on for an extract from Victoria’s epistolary essay and a link to read the article in full for free on our website, together some other notable collections of literary letters for you to add to your libraries. We’re also delighted to include news of a special offer from our friends at Delayed Gratification, celebrating the publication of their 50th issue.

Happy reading and thank you all again for your continuing enthusiasm.

With best wishes, as ever, from the SF office staff

Hattie, Jess & Jemima

Your recent emails and letters of good wishes have been warmly received by Gail and Hazel. While we wait for them to collect their MBEs, we thought you’d all enjoy some highlights from the Slightly Foxed inbox . . .

‘Hearty congratulations to you ALL, well-deserved indeed, and strongly championed by this humble subscriber. Will you have to wear hats?! A minefield of choice and decision-making awaits you!’ P. M.

‘All your readers all over the world will be sending up a loud cheer. Thank you for the pleasure and interest you have given to so many for so long. The quality of the magazine never dips. It is one of the most truly civilized publications I read.’ H. E.

‘I am in Provence and fairly far into our second bottle of rosé, which may account for the slight stinging tear in my eye. But how completely brilliant! I am so delighted for you both and you deserve it so richly. How very proud you and we should all be. I am glad, paradoxically, that this recognition coincides with some of the most undeserving awards ever. It simply reflects, quite life-affirmingly, that proper people who do proper things transcend the imitators and the self-seekers.’ D. G.

‘Thumping applause (tails a’wagging) from all those trusty Slightly Foxed hounds. Come on, Stanley, Maggie, Gideon, Humphrey, Tarka & Dusty . . . Let’s hear some full-throated barking here; you can make as much noise as you like. From one grateful, long-time subscriber, thank you.’ L. S.

‘Much deserved recognition of the fantastic contribution you bring to the world of books. I’ve lost count of the authors I’ve discovered through reading SF, not to mention old ones rediscovered. Ursula Buchan’s essay on Wavell’s Other Men’s Flowers was particularly poignant.’ D. L.

‘Congratulations to you all for doing a superb job spreading great literature around the world, thus making lots of us more thoughtful and a lot happier. I’ve told you before, but I am so grateful to be a member of the Slightly Foxed family. We all need a photo of the great day!’ A. C.

‘Warmest congratulations! The award could not be better merited. We’re only sorry it’s not a Barony. Still, something for the future. Here in New Zealand the winter was one of discontent until the post arrived on Saturday. The weather is lousy but we are curled up with the latest SF publications and a dram or two of what we fancy, so all’s well with the world.’ S. E.

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