Agatha Christie’s Secret Letters to be Revealed

By July 13, 2017Authors, Literature, News

Today we bring you the news that as part of the HarperCollins 200th anniversary the publisher will be releasing ‘the secret history between Agatha Christie and her long-standing publisher, HarperCollins’.

The ‘candid photographs’ and ‘touching letters’ were unearthed from a Glasgow archive and will form part of a new exhibition celebrating the company’s 200th anniversary.

The items show a relationship between Christie and her William ‘Billy’ Collins spanning 50 years until the author’s death in 1976 aged 85, and are made up of many discussions include cover designs, plots and publishing schedules. The touching letters discuss some of the issues of the day, like attempting to obtain tennis balls during the war, the gossip from publishing parties and more.

Christie is still one of the best selling authors of all time and is still published by HarperCollins to this day. The publishing house holds thousands of books, photographs, and correspondence at the Glasgow archive and these documents give an insight into the author’s long career.

If you’re a big fan of Agatha Christie then the material will all be displayed at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate later this month, between 20th and 23rd July. The collection will then move to a permanent home at Greenway, Christie’s former home in Devon, now managed by the National Trust.

Chris Riddell in War of Words with John Lewis over Moz Likeness

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Author and illustrator Chris Riddell got into a little Twitter spat last week with retailer John Lewis over the Moz character from the new advertising campaign, and a week on it’s still rumbling on as the ever witty and creative Chris Riddell continues with a stream of monster talk.

The former children’s laureate, Riddell, pointed out that Moz the Monster bears a striking similarity to Mr Underbed, his own monster character. Riddell then went on to show blow by blow how the stories are almost identical, and even the monsters bear a striking resemblance. Read More

The Private Lives of Authors: Franz Kafka

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Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was a German speaking Jewish novelist born in Prague to a middle class family. His childhood was lonely despite being the eldest of six children; his two brothers unfortunately died in their infancy and the remaining children were mainly raised by governesses. Both parents worked hard in the family business and were consequently absent for much of the working week, leaving the household in the care of servants.

Kafka was a shy and introverted character, and an avid reader. He considered writers such as Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, and Heinrich Von Kleist to be “true blood brothers”. Kafka’s father expected him to take over the family goods business, however, after completing a degree in Law he worked for insurance companies, and started an asbestos factory with an acquaintance. He claimed to despise working just to pay bills and would much rather have spent his time writing. Illness plagued him through his adult life, with complications arising from tuberculosis keeping him from joining the military.

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Brambly Hedge Creator Jill Barklem Died Aged 66

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Born in Epping in 1951, Jill Barklem had a natural talent for art and drawing. He interest in the natural world became a real influence in her work, and after completing her study of illustration at St Martin’s in London, she went on to research extensively for her Brambly Hedge stories.

Her curiosity and interest in rural life bled into her quaint and sweet stories, accompanied by beautifully detailed images of anthropomorphised field mice and other hedgerow creatures.  Her Brambly Hedge stories were adored by many children growing up in the 80s and 90s from her first book ‘A Spring Story’ (1980) to ‘A Year in Brambly Hedge’ (2010). Her work was made into an animation in 1996, voiced by two British treasures- Jim Broadbent and June Whitfield.

After a long illness Jill died, aged 66, on November 16th 2017. The publisher’s staff at HarperCollins were all deeply saddened at the news of Barklem’s death. “Her exquisite Brambly Hedge stories have enchanted children and many adult admirers across the world for more than 35 years. Jill was a lovely person with a rare talent to turn her astute observation of the English countryside into an enchanting miniature world,” she said. “Her enduring stories about the mice of Brambly Hedge remain as beautiful today as when she first created them and will continue to be treasured by future generations.”

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Orwell Statue Unveiled at BBC Broadcasting House

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On the 7th November this year, a brand new statue of one of my all time favourite authors was unveiled outside the BBC’s London Head Quarters, at New Broadcasting House.

Eric Blair had worked at the BBC as a producer for the “Empire Service” over 70 years ago and some suggest that it is this time at the BBC that gave him the inspiration for room 101, in his now famous novel 1984 which he penned under the more familiar name George Orwell.

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10 Doris Lessing Quotes We Can All Relate To

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Doris May Lessing (22nd October 1919 – 17th November 2013) was a British novelist poet, playwright, and short story writer, best known for her novels including The Grass is Singing (USUK), and The Golden Notebook (USUK).

An early feminist, Lessing was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007, described by the Swedish Academy as “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”. When met on the street by journalists and told she had won the prize, she responded “Oh, Christ!”. Read More

10 Moving Quotes from Chinua Achebe

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Chinua Achebe (16 November 1930 – 21 March 2013) was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor and critic, best known for his novel Things Fall Apart (USUK), considered to be the most widely read book in modern African Literature and winner of the Man Booker International Prize in 2007.

Achebe lived a fascinating life, growing up in South-Eastern Nigeria. He excelled at school and won a scholarship to study medicine but changed his studies to English Literature at University College, Ibadan. It was here he began writing stories, eventually gaining worldwide attention for his works. Read More



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