Thursday, 9 April 2009

Completely Wonderful

I have a new Persephone book! And I was lucky enough to be given Miss Buncle's Book by Nicola Beauman as we had a brief chat last night after she gave a talk at Suffolk Book League.

Several months ago I found out that Nicola Beauman, founder of Persephone books was to be a guest speaker. I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of April 8th ever since. And when it finally arrived I was lucky enough to be suffering a migraine and vertigo. For a split second I considered staying at home. But I went. And i'm jolly glad I did.

Her talk was very interesting. She discussed what made her want to start Persephone, her love for women writers, the shops and the books and how their unique style came about. She was charming, spoke so wonderfully, was funny and frank. She answered questions from the audience ranging from how she chooses the books they publish to the financing of the publishing house and cost of the books compared to your usual paperback you buy on the high street.

The books are often found through recommendations from customers or friends, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day was the favourite book of a customers' mother. Part of the charm of the shops is how cosy they seem and how it appears to be a small business with a personal touch. Nicola proved last night that that is exactly how it is. There is only a small workforce (they currently have a work experience girl with them named Persephone!) and the mail orders are sent out from the shops with a punctual postman at 3:30 everyday.

Nicola herself is also charming and friendly. I spoke to her briefly about how I discovered Persephone and she asked what I do. I talked about how I planned to read Miss Buncle's Book next but hadn't finished Marianna or Miss Pettigrew so must finish them first. She was kind enough to give me the copy of Miss Buncle that she had brought with her. Asked me to let her know what I think of the book and asked my name. A lovely evening. Even with a splitting head!!


Flo said...

Sounds like a wonderful evening, I wish I could have been there to see it too. I love persephone books, there is something special about reading a book that has had so much thought and care put into it, not just the writing but the whole presentation of it. Lovely!

Ragged Roses said...

Wow that sounds like a great evening, Miss Buncle is down on my list of books to read, I love Persephone books and have yet to read one I haven't enjoyed. Have you visited their shop in Lambs Conduit St, I think you would love it.
I'm sure you would love Sissinghurst. You MUST visit Charleston and Monks House (Virginia Woolf's house) they are wonderful. You could manage them both on one day, though I think that Monk's House is only open Wednesdays and Saturdays. They are fantastic places to visit.

Flo said...

I keep telling her to visit Sissinghurst, Monk's House and Charleston as they are all near me and she would love them!!!

Elaine said...

Jess - I am just finishing a post on Miss Buncle and it will be up in a bit. Do check it out. I live in COlchester so not a million miles away. I loved Miss Buncle. My blog is

Christy said...

I would have liked to have been there too. A friend recently introduced me to Persephone books. I started out by reading 'At a Distance' by Dorothy Whipple; after which I became totally hooked on DW, so looked for more books at my public library. I came up with 'The Priory', 'Greenbanks', all three of which I have written reviews on my blog. I am now reading 'Because of the Lockwoods' and have still to read 'Young Anne'

I am looking forward to being introduced to more authors via Persephone.

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