The Book of Forgotten Authors

Why Authors Are Forgotten: Part 6

Polari Feb 15

In Richard Hughes’s ‘A High Wind In Jamaica’, some British children living in the Caribbean survive a hurricane and are sent back to England, but are captured by pirates. It’s an adventure about children, but certainly not aimed at them. Because in a turnabout, it’s the pirates who have to be afraid…it’s a haunting book […]

Why Authors Are Forgotten: Part 5

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  The project of unearthing these writers became a labour of love that made me new friends around the world, as I tracked them down and heard their stories. I discovered how Walt Disney saved banned European writers, how a bestselling Tibetan monk turned out to be a plumber from Devon and how Alfred Hitchcock […]

Why Authors Are Forgotten: Part 3

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Every book lover has a favourite forgotten author. But for everyone who loves an Agatha Christie, there’s another who adores a good Margaret Millar. For every Sherlock Holmes, there was another great detective. I decided to investigate further and was deluged with suggestions from readers. I uncovered a wealth of stories about why writers vanished. […]

Why Authors Are Forgotten: Part 2

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Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you’re dead. Changing tastes, shrinking budgets, fads, fashions and poor cataloguing all conspire against the budding author. Authors often kill their own careers by refusing to do publicity, getting bored, being difficult or getting fed up with punishing delivery schedules. The more original and […]

Why Authors Are Forgotten: Part 1

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Over the next six days I’m doing something different here; I’m going to publish a version of the talk I gave around the country on the subject of authors we have loved and misplaced. I started from a template and tended to spring off in different directions for each talk, depending on the mood of […]

Don’t Forget This: It’s Out Now!

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  The journey of writing a book doesn’t end on its publication day. It’s where the real journey begins. And I feel this is doubly so for ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’, which is out today. Once there were popular novels almost everyone owned. Mum had Georgette Heyer, Dad had Eric Ambler, I had Dennis […]

A Message From Our Sponsor (i.e. Me)

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In case you think I’ve been taking too much time off to write about tea, let me assure you that I’ve been busy planning the next tranche of books to come your way. First up, on October 5th ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’ launches in the UK. Once there were popular novels almost everyone owned. Mum […]

This Time The Role Of Author Is Played By Me

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When I wrote my memoir ‘Paperboy’ I wasn’t asked to read the book for the audiobook edition. Instead, a charming actor was employed to be me. One day he rang me at home to get an idea of my voice, but although he had a very nice Received Pronunciation tone he didn’t sound at all […]

I’m Still Writing About ‘Forgotten Authors’

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I delivered ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’ to my editor at Quercus about nine months ago. Normally at this point one empties out the attic of the mind and refills it with the research for the next book. But the forgotten authors just wouldn’t go away. Admittedly, I worked on it for ten years and […]

What Publishers Get Up To Behind Closed Doors

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They hold meetings, of course – but usually they don’t include the people who drive their business, the authors. Not so Quercus, whose annual sales conference I’ve just attended at London’s Cafe de Paris – they believe in involving their authors heavily throughout the publishing process, and in doing so seem to be quietly revolutionising […]