Saturday, 14 July 2012

Small Press Fortnight: Forgotten Classics

I was very excited to be asked by Jodie to participate in Small Press Fortnight as some of the best books I've read in recent years have been published by Small Presses.  I'm sure that most people who read this blog are familiar with the wonderful Persephone Books who do sterling work in this field, and who are one of my favourite Small Presses specialising in forgotten classics, but for the purposes of this blog, I want to link back to some older posts and highlight three slightly less well known Small Presses, which predominantly specialise in childrens literature.

Girls Gone By Publishing came to my attention when I started collecting Chalet School books in my late teens; they were set up around the same time in fact.  As any Chalet School book collector knows, whilst many of the titles are readily available, there are others which are extremely rare and collectable.  Girls Gone By started to reissue these, in handsome paperback editions, which made them once again available to the collector and completist.  Amazingly these editions are now themselves collectors items!  Girls Gone By have expanded to publish a number of other very out of print authors, such as my favourite Antonia Forest.  Her school books are fairly easily available, but not the rest of the titles that she wrote.  I wrote this post about Girls Gone By a couple of years ago, and have since vastly expanded my collection.  I've even started dipping my toe into the world of Chalet School fill ins, based on the assumption that they wouldn't publish rubbish, and I have so far been proved correct.

Another children's publisher which does similar work is Fidra books.  They tend to specialise slightly more in animal and horsey books.  I wrote a post about Fidra books here.

And finally.  Without Greyladies publishing who would have known that so many of my favourite children's authors, including those published by GGBP and Fidra has also written books for adults?  And that these were  equally readable?  My favourite of all of their authors is Susan Scarlett, the pseudonym for Noel Streatfeild.  Yes, some of you may be familiar with her adult novels, as well as her children's books, but did you know that she also wrote light "romances" under this name?  Mills and Boon they are certainly not, but they are meatier versions of her children's books with a bit of love interest.  Perfect for comfort reading if you don't want to be reading a children's book!  I've written before about Greyladies here and here.

So all it remains is for me to conclude this post by saying hurrah for small presses in enabling me to read more and collect more of my favourite children's authors without requiring a small fortune to purchase first editions!


  1. I agree! I love Persephone, Greyladies, Hesperus, Victorian Secrets etc. They've supplied some of the most interesting books I've ever read.

  2. I agree too! Thanks to Girls Gone By I've been able to read many books I would never have been able to afford. And I recommend a recent book from Greyladies - Sister Anne Resigns by Josephine Elder - a fascinating novel about nursing in the 20s and 30s.

  3. Yes, three cheers for, Persephone, Girl's Gone By, Greyladies and Fidra. Though Fidra seem to have gone rather quiet lately.

    I've got a copy of Sister Anne Resigns in a to be read pile.

    I've also got some Susan Coolidge titles, which have been reprinted by Dodo. I don't know if they're a small press or part of a larger company.

  4. Thanks for being part of the blog tour and for highlighting three publishers in one go :D Great bonanza to end the tour with.


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