Intimations of spring at last! The days are lengthening, watery spring sunlight is filtering through the bare trees in the square, there’s a jug of daffodils on the windowsill, and the tatty old London pigeons are billing and cooing on the parapet outside the office.
To start the year we’ve made a few changes. Some of you have been mentioning rather plaintively that there’s not enough information on the Slightly Foxed contents page, and it’s true that our original idea was that the magazine should be like a bran tub, taking readers by surprise with pieces about books that weren’t in their own particular line of interest. However, we’ve now decided to bow to popular opinion and include book titles. A small change, but we’d like to know what you think.
There’s been a bigger change to our website, as some of you may have noticed. It had remained more or less the same since we started out, so through much of last year Jennie worked on a redesign which is, we hope, both livelier and easier to use. We so enjoy the contact we have with readers that we’ve added a new feature, a ‘From Our Readers’ page. We hope you’ll enjoy it. You can also now leave your own review of any SF book you have bought on the relevant page of the website. All of this is still very much a work in progress, so if you have any comments or problems, do get in touch with Jennie ([email protected], 020 7729 9368).
We mentioned in the autumn that for three years Slightly Foxed would be sponsoring the £3,500 Best First Biography Prize, run by the Biographers’ Club. We can now announce the winner for 2014 – Those Wild Wyndhams by the historian and barrister Claudia Renton, a fascinating portrait of three beautiful and aristocratic sisters who were at the centre of political and cultural life in Victorian and Edwardian Britain. Totally absorbing, and well worth a call to the Slightly Foxed bookshop (020 7370 3503).
We’re also happy to report that this month we’ll be presenting the Hospital School at Great Ormond Street with a cheque for £5,000, which has been raised from the sale of our little book Slightly Famous People’s Foxes. Our thanks to all of you who have bought it, and also to the band of contributors who so generously produced drawings.
This spring there’s a new volume to add to our Slightly Foxed Cubs edition of Ronald Welch’s Carey chronicles (see p.46). Captain of Dragoons, set in the reign of Queen Anne during the early years of the War of the Spanish Succession, has as its hero Charles Carey, Captain in the Duke of Marlborough’s army – a moody and charismatic figure who is also one of the army’s most brilliant swordsmen. A great read which has all the action, atmosphere and vivid attention to detail that readers have come to love in this popular series.
May we also particularly recommend the latest of the Slightly Foxed Editions – Basil Street Blues by Michael Holroyd (see p.12), in which the distinguished biographer teases out the story – indeed the stories – of his own somewhat bizarre family. It’s an enchanting book – subtle, poignant, surprising and funny. Michael spoke brilliantly and entertainingly on the subject of biography at our annual Readers’ Day in November. It was the usual happy and convivial occasion, held at the Art Workers’ Guild in Bloomsbury. We’re booked in there again on 7 November this year – a Saturday this time, which is perhaps easier for most people.
Lastly, many congratulations to Annette Hope in Lewes, the winner of our 6th crossword competition, who receives a free annual subscription. For those of you still wrestling with it, the answers appear on p.41.