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Slightly Foxed Issue 56: From the Editors

From the start, we were keen that Slightly Foxed should feature not only contributors familiar from other book pages but also the voices of people who could write but who didn’t think of themselves as writers – people outside the literary world, who had other equally interesting kinds of experience, and for whom the written word was just as important. We’ve come to the conclusion that this describes many of our readers, judging from your sparky entries to the writers’ competitions we’ve run in the past. So, now the dark evenings have closed in again, we think it’s a good time to run another one.

This year’s competition is open to all Slightly Foxed subscribers and the winner will receive a prize of £250. We’re looking for a piece of between 1,000 and 1,500 words on a favourite book (do check our online index to make sure it hasn’t been covered already) or on a personal experience that is ‘book-related’. You’ll find more about the competition on our website, www.foxedquarterly.com: entries should reach us by 31 March 2018.

Meanwhile Christmas is almost upon us again. We receive so many cheering letters from people who have been given gift subscriptions and have then decided to go on and renew independently that we conclude it’s a present that hits the spot for any bookish friend or relative. And there’s much more tempting merchandise for the bookish in the enclosed winter catalogue – plus of course the whole range of Slightly Foxed and Plain Foxed Editions, a collection of voices and personal experiences so various that there’s bound to be something to appeal to anyone who enjoys the art of memoir. At the end of the catalogue you’ll also find our ninth literary crossword. Entries should reach us no later than 14 January 2018 and the first correct one drawn out of a hat will receive a free annual subscription.

Our winter SFE this year is Erich Kästner’s When I Was a Little Boy (see p.13), an account of growing up in Dresden before the First World War by the author of Emil and the Detectives. It’s a charming book, delicate and humorous but shot through with a strain of melancholy as Kästner remembers his childhood in the ‘wonderful city, full of art and history,’ that was flattened by the Allies in 1945. In many ways those early years were idyllic – Erich’s main problem was that both parents loved their only child to an almost suffocating degree. Yet, as so often, out of this intense and emotionally complicated childhood came a most unusual writer, who drew on it to create one of the bestloved children’s books of the twentieth century.

On the subject of children’s books, we have some hot news. In the spring we’ll be adding a hitherto unpublished volume to Ronald Welch’s Carey series. The manuscript of The Road to Waterloo, which follows the events leading up to that great battle, was recently rediscovered among his papers by his daughter. This new slim volume, which fills a small but significant gap in the Carey family story, will be hand-numbered and part of the limited edition. Copies can be pre-ordered now (UK £15; overseas £17 inc. p&p).

It’s a strange new world we live in, isn’t it? Among the many emails that arrive at the office we recently received one encouraging us to watch a video in which a journalist at ‘News Republic’ would tell us ‘how their obsession with end-user experience delivers value for publishers’. Sorry? We looked up ‘News Republic’ and discovered that it ‘leverages editorial, algorithmic and community intelligence to offer the widest possible perspective’ on the news. And so, dear end-users, we hope we’ll continue to deliver value to you during the coming year and offer you the widest possible perspective. Or as we used to say, we wish you all a peaceful Christmas and plenty of good reading in 2018.

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