The first crisp feel of autumn in the air is always exciting and somehow unexpected. Old tapes begin to play bringing back memories of new school terms and fresh beginnings, and the prospect of cosy dark evenings with the curtains drawn – though this year for many of us the cosiness is more likely to come from putting on an extra jumper than by turning up the heating.
Here at Slightly Foxed, autumn is one of our busiest times as our lovely, hard-working office team get ready for the Christmas rush. If you too already have Christmas in mind and someone who enjoys diaries on your present list, it’s worth taking note of this season’s Slightly Foxed Edition, Nella Last’s War (see p.12). Identified at the time she wrote it simply by her age and occupation: ‘Housewife, 49’, Nella Last kept her diary as part of the Mass Observation project launched in 1937 to record the lives of ordinary people in Britain. Though she may have been classed as an ordinary housewife living in Barrow-in-Furness, Nella was an extraordinary human being, and her diary gives us a wonderfully vivid picture of everyday life in wartime Britain and the liberation it brought to women like her.
This season’s Plain Foxed Edition – our series in which we reissue popular titles no longer available as SFEs in a matching but slightly plainer format – is Graham Greene’s A Sort of Life. Greene once said that writing this memoir of his early life was ‘in the nature of a psychoanalysis’ and certainly the character who emerges is as complex and intriguing as any of those he created in his novels. But what marked Greene out above all else was his utter determination to pursue his craft. There can be no more fascinating or illuminating account of what it takes to become a writer.
On the subject of writing, the feeling’s been coming over us that it’s time for another of our Writer’s Competitions. We’ve greatly benefited from them in the past, finding, predictably, that among our readers there are some very good writers. So why not throw your hat into the ring, and send us a personal piece of not more than 1,500 words that reflects your own experience of a favourite book and that 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 15 January 2023. Please click here for more information, or phone us at the office.
And finally, something else to chew over. It’s almost twenty years now since, with Steph, we started Slightly Foxed. Fortunately we’re both still firing on all cylinders (we think!), but as the years have piled up and Slightly Foxed has grown, so, inevitably, have our various commitments, both in and out of the office. We both dearly love editing Slightly Foxed, but we’re agreed that a little regular freelance help wouldn’t come amiss, and the first and most obvious place to look for it seemed to be via our readership. We’re on the lookout for a rather special person, probably in their forties or fifties, with solid experience in publishing or journalism or both, to take some of the weight of the things we regularly do. If you would like to know more, please email us at [email protected] and we’ll be in touch.