At this time of year, one can’t help noticing, the population of London changes. In the centre of town the buses and tubes are filled with overseas visitors and a Babel of foreign voices. But the narrow streets around us in Clerkenwell are strangely quiet, emptied of the crowds of workers who normally fill the local pubs and wine bars. It feels as if the clocks have gone back fifty years.
Here at Slightly Foxed we’re doing our best to keep up with the times, helped by the fact that for the young ones in the office virtual ways of keeping in touch hold no mysteries. It’s all a bit of a mystery to us, we must confess, but those of you who are interested can now follow us on Twitter at @foxedquarterly, where Jennie, under the guise of the Curious Fox, is busy tweeting away with bits of interesting literary information and news of forthcoming events.
We’re doing a little travelling ourselves this year, visiting independent bookshops in various parts of the country. In April we were at the Oxford Literary Festival and then in Devon, at the Harbour Bookshop in Kingsbridge, and on Thursday 9 June we’ll be at One Tree Books in Petersfield, Hampshire. You’ll find details of the last on the website. If you’re in those parts, do please join us to raise a glass.
Speaking of travel, our summer Slightly Foxed Edition (see p. 13) is something quite out of the ordinary. Hand-Grenade Practice in Peking by Frances Wood, keeper of the Chinese Collection at the British Library, describes the year she spent as an exchange student in China in 1975, when the country was still in the throes of the Cultural Revolution. Based on her letters home, it is both affecting and hilarious.
And finally, advance news of another Slightly Foxed venture. On Saturday 19 November we are holding a ‘Reader’s Day’ in London, at the Art Workers’ Guild in Bloomsbury. No. 6 Queen Square is a charming Georgian house which is still home to a guild of artists, craftsmen and designers founded in the 1890s by the leading lights of the Arts and Crafts movement.
This will be a chance for us to meet you, and for you to hear some of our many interesting contributors sharing their literary preoccupations. Among them will be Penelope Lively and Sue Gee discussing the autobiographical aspect of their fiction; Daisy Hay on Byron, Shelley and their circle; Juliet Gardiner and Ysenda Maxtone Graham (whose grandmother was the creator of the idealized wartime heroine Mrs Miniver) discussing what they have written about the Second World War; and Jeremy Lewis on the extraordinary Greene family.
The distinguished wood engraver Simon Brett will give a short talk on book illustration, Tony will be there with a selection of books on sale from the bookshop, and there will be tea, coffee and cakes (homemade in Suffolk by our contributor Frances Donnelly). Altogether we feel it will be a delightful day out, so if you are interested, do book now as places are limited to 100. Tickets and the full programme will follow in September. We look forward to seeing you!