It seems, as they say, only yesterday that we were telling you Slightly Foxed would be moving – in fact it was in 2004 that we moved from our original ‘office’ round the kitchen table of Gail’s home in Canonbury to the family’s new home in Clerkenwell. For eight years we roosted gratefully at Dickinson Court, gradually expanding, like the proverbial cuckoo, until we’d virtually taken over; turning the spare room into a post room, filling every available alcove with back issues and filing trays, and the hall with bicycles and parcels of books.
So last month it was time to move again – to a proper grown-up office just down the road, in Hoxton Square, which is thought to be one of the oldest squares in London. For those of you not familiar with the area, it’s a part of London that has fairly recently had a rebirth and is now home to little restaurants and cutting-edge art galleries like White Cube. But it still retains its original East London feel, and when we say ‘office’ we’re not talking about lifts and switchboards and water-coolers. Our new home (53 Hoxton Square, London N1 6PB) is in a building which was once a warehouse, and when we’ve properly settled in we’ll still be wrapping up books and sending out issues, sitting around the same kitchen table to chew things over, and answering the phone ourselves.
It’s an exciting moment, but moving office did bring on a wave of nostalgia as we remembered the early years, the fun we had setting Slightly Foxed up, the way our early subscribers – many of you, gratifyingly, still with us – rallied round, putting the word about and supporting us with letters and phone calls, despite some rather gloomy predictions at the time. We may be a bit bigger now, but we’re glad to say that we still have fun, we still love Slightly Foxed and everything that goes with it, especially the contact we have with our readers, who are as interested and supportive as ever they were. A big thank-you to you all.
But hankies away now, and on to the present with the latest of the Slightly Foxed Editions, a delightful dual memoir by the writer and illustrator Denis Constanduros (see p. 12). First published in 1948, My Grandfather, as its title indicates, is an affectionate and delicately humorous portrait of the author’s maternal grandfather and his household in the early years of the last century. Father, Dear Father – once read to much acclaim on Radio 4 but published now for the first time – is an irresistibly funny, but ultimately poignant account of Denis’s extraordinary childhood and of the other important figure in his life, his father. A little gem of a book, and highly recommended both as a cheering winter read and a delightful Christmas present.
This time last year we ran a very successful Young Writers’ Competition, and this year we’ve decided it’s time to give our older readers a chance. So if you’re 60 or over and have a favourite book you’d like to write about why not enter? We’re looking for a piece of not more than 1,500 words, written in characteristic SF style – which is to say a piece that reflects your own experience of the book and why you have chosen it, and makes other people want to read it too. The winner will receive £250 and the piece will be published in Slightly Foxed, while the runner-up will appear on our website. Entries should reach us by 28 February. For more information see our website www.foxedquarterly.com or phone us at the office.
And finally, just to keep the grey cells in good order, we’ve got another of our literary crosswords for you – it’s on the back of the leaflet slipped into this issue. Entries should reach us no later than 14 January and the first correct one to be drawn out of a hat will receive a free annual subscription.