NON-FICTION//The Book of Forgotten Authors- Christopher Fowler*


Sometimes, it can be hard to know just what to read; the choice is so vast that going to the library or bookshop with nothing in mind can be overwhelming. Books like this one can help- each potted biography is a potential mine of new books to add to the list. Which is great, except each entry is a ‘forgotten’ author, doomed to be lost to popular imagination and the bargain bin of secondhand bookshops.

There are some names here that I recognise: this year I read a Georgette Heyer novel for the first time and I’m currently reading Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, which I came to independently of the book. There are some surprising entries too- Keith Waterhouse, who was taught to usin my working-class south Leeds school in the late 90s, in what I suspect was an attempt to engage us in literature from the local area; Eleanor Highest, better known by her pseudonyms Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt or Phillipa Carr, all names I’ve heard of but never read; or Arnold Ridley, better known as Private Godfrey in Dad’s Army, but forgotten now as a writer.

Some of these books have found homes with publishers such as Persephone, or are finding their audiences again with bigger publishing houses. Whatever their status, this book will make hunting through secondhand bookshops a lot more fun- all genres are covered, so there’s certain Tobe at least one title you’ll want to hunt down. Good luck!

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