Jonathan Cape will publish Raymond Briggs' long-awaited Time for Lights Out in November, 13 years after the illustrator and author started work on the book about age and death.
Illustrated with his pencil drawings, the book is a collection of short pieces, “some funny, some melancholy, some remembering his wife who died young, others about the joy of grandchildren, of walking the dog,” Cape said. He looks back at his schooldays and his time as an evacuee during the war, remembers his parents and the house in which he grew up, considering old age and death.
Time for Lights Out was acquired by Dan Franklin, associate publisher of Cape, who negotiated UK, Commonwealth and translation rights in a deal with Hilary Delamere of The Agency. The book was first mentioned in a Telegraph report in 2007 in which Briggs said the collection would be his last and his "bleakest", having begun work on it 13 years ago, in 2005. The 288-page collection will be published in November 2019.
Franklin said: “In some ways all of Raymond’s books have been about death. Here he confronts it head on in a book that is honest and truthful and very touching. Ethel & Ernest was the very first book on the Cape graphic novel list. It’s wonderful to be publishing him again.”
Briggs was born in London in 1934. He is the author of the successful children's books Father Christmas and The Snowman (Puffin) as well as titles such as Ethel & Ernest (Cape), a biography of his parents.
Last year The Snowman celebrated its 40th anniversary with partnerships with Backyard Cinema, The Royal Mint and Waterstones among them.