Just over a month now until the Italian and UK publication of Expo 58. I’ve been busy with my webmistress updating this website over the last few days, and before long we should have a page for the new book, along with new pages for my children’s books The Story of Gulliver (which will be published in the UK by Pushkin Press in October) and The Broken Mirror.
As if that weren’t enough, there will be yet another publication in December, when Penguin will be issuing an ebook called Marginal Notes, Doubtful Statements, which is an anthology of my journalism and non-fiction from the last twenty years.
All this flurry of activity requires me, of course, to abandon my life as a literary hermit and - for a few weeks at least - emerge blinking and squinting into the sunlight, so that I can talk to readers at a number of public events which are listed on the news page. In fact I’m really looking forward to these, especially my visits to Sarzana and Birmingham and, best of all, the launching of the Dutch and UK editions of Expo 58 at the Atomium in Brussels in October.
Wherever you are in the next few months - Italy, Belgium or Britain - please come along to meet me and get your books signed! (Or perhaps not , as I’ve a feeling it’s going to be the unsigned copies of Expo 58 which will be the collectors’ items in years to come …)
I’m pleased to say that the final copy-editing process has been completed on Expo 58, and the definitive text has been sent to the printers.
Meanwhile Penguin are on the point of unveiling Jonathan Gray’s fantastic cover design. Have a look here to see some of his sources of inspiration …
February 5th, 2013 will mark the eightieth anniversary of the birth of BS Johnson. All right, so I don’t suppose there will be an excess of bunting out in the streets that day, but many Johnson aficionados - myself included - are pretty excited about it. And to celebrate the occasion, Picador, Johnson’s publishers, have excelled themselves with a superb publishing programme. This is what we can look forward to:
- Single-volume reissues of his novels Albert Angelo, Trawl, House Mother Normal and Christie Malry’s Own Double-Entry. All the books feature eye-catching new covers by La Boca, and the first three have new introductions by, respectively, Toby Litt, Jon McGregor and Andrew Motion.
- A new, 471-page hardback volume of rare and out-of-print Johnson material called Well Done God! This has been edited by myself, Philip Tew and Julia Jordan, and contains a facsimile reprint of Johnson’s short prose collection Aren’t You Rather Young to be Writing Your Memoirs?, six stage and television plays (three of them previously unpublished) and more than one hundred pages of uncollected journalism.
- An evening of readings, screenings and discussions at the British Library in London (15th February), to launch the reissued novels and Well Done God!, and to celebrate Johnson’s life and work. Confirmed participants include David Quantick, Julia Jordan and Johnson’s longtime friends and collaborators Michael Bakewell and Philip Pacey.
As if that were not enough BS Johnson goodness, the bfi have given me permission to leak a few details of their forthcoming DVD release on the Flipside label. This will come out on 15 April and will include, among other things, fully restored and cleaned-up versions of You’re Human Like the Rest of Them, Paradigm and Fat Man on a Beach; rare TV documentaries by Johnson on his novel The Unfortunates and his namesake Samuel Johnson; and a recently recovered b/w home video recording of his long-lost television play Not Counting the Savages.
Will Johnson fans be able to cope with so much excitement and activity at once?