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Slightly Foxed Issue 39: From the Editors

The summer has sped by and we’ve been travelling, giving talks about Slightly Foxed (with the essential tea and cakes) at the kind of small local festivals that often seem to have more meaning than the bigger events. They’re a great opportunity for us to meet local subscribers and see some very beautiful parts of the country. On 20 September we’ll be in another lovely place, Much Wenlock in Shropshire, where we’ll be talking at Wenlock Books.

Now the summer’s over we’re preparing for something rather special – the Slightly Foxed tenth anniversary in 2014. We’ve got various plans for marking the occasion, the first being an anniversary wall calendar for 2014 featuring twelve of our favourite Slightly Foxed covers. Readers so enjoy our cover illustrations with their seasonal themes, and we so enjoy commissioning them, that it seemed an irresistible idea. It’s a really cheering, colourful calendar and looking at it makes us feel rather nostalgic. We’re only printing a limited quantity, so do order now using the enclosed leaflet before stocks run out.

Another anniversary project is the launch of our new children’s series Slightly Foxed Cubs (see p. 30), twelve novels which follow the fortunes of the Carey family from their involvement in the Crusades to service in the First World War. It does seem that the present vogue for ‘modular’ teaching makes it hard for younger people to gain any sense of the chronology of English history. These splendid books join up the dots in a really exciting way and will also, we suspect, ring nostalgic bells for some older readers too. The original series, written between the 1950s and 1970s by the master storyteller Ronald Welch, has unaccountably been long out of print and is hugely expensive to buy second-hand, so we’re delighted to be giving it a new lease of life. Each book in the series will be printed in a limited and numbered cloth-bound edition of 2,000 copies. For more details do look at the enclosed leaflet.

This season’s new Slightly Foxed Edition is Christabel Bielenberg’s wartime memoir The Past Is Myself (see p. 13). Christabel, a beautiful woman from an influential Anglo-Irish family, married Peter Bielenberg, a young Hamburg lawyer, not long after Hitler came to power. When the new bride went to exchange her British passport for a German one, an official at the London embassy told her: ‘You have not made a very good swap I’m afraid; except of course that this handsome fellow is included in the deal.’ Christabel would be called upon to save the life of the ‘handsome fellow’ when he was arrested and sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp. Yet despite such horrors, she saw and recorded a different kind of wartime Germany from the one most of us know about. It’s an extraordinary piece of history and a deeply romantic story.

Another of our earlier SFE titles, V. S. Pritchett’s wonderfully funny A Cab at the Door, is now available in paperback. It tells the story of V. S.’s eccentric, down-at-heel childhood in South London, dominated by his reckless, over-optimistic peacock of a father, when there was frequently a ‘cab at the door’ waiting to bear the family quietly away from yet another set of creditors.

And finally, if you would like to receive a digital version of Slightly Foxed, it’s now available to all subscribers for an extra £10 a year when you renew your print subscription. As well as your four printed issues, this will give you access to the current issue and all back issues via your computer, laptop, iPad, iPhone or Android device. If you have any questions about digital subscriptions please email Jennie ([email protected]) and she will do her best to answer them.

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