Celebrations planned for Plath anniversary year

Celebrations planned for Plath anniversary year

Publishers are planning to celebrate the life and work of Sylvia Plath on the 50th anniversary of her death in February 2013.

Plath is perhaps most famous for poems such as “Daddy” and “Blackberrying”, as well as her marriage to Ted Hughes and her emotionally troubled life, which culminated in her suicide at the age of 30.

Earlier this month, Faber released Sylvia Plath: Poems Chosen by Carol Ann Duffy (hb, £14.99), and has plans to publish titles throughout 2013. On 3rd January, it will release a 50th anniversary edition of The Bell Jar with a redesigned cover, featuring a woman applying lipstick in a compact mirror. Coming on 5th September will be the re-issue of The Journals of Sylvia Plath, again with a redesigned look, with the paperback release of the poetry collection falling on 6th July 2013.

Editor and paperbacks manager Sarah Savitt said the new look for The Bell Jar was designed to “celebrate it as a modern classic but also reach out to new readers”, with the publisher pitching for all the biggest retail slots across the industry, from Waterstones to supermarkets.

She said: “There is that nod to period so it might appeal to people who have read Revolutionary Road or The Best of Everything, or who have seen ‘Mad Men’, and we wanted to remind people that there are lots of different elements in the book—there is the glamour of New York at the beginning. We wanted to bring out the light and shade of it.”

Savitt said the publisher was planning a “major” marketing and publicity campaign, with more publishing plans also to be announced. She said they will also focus on “connecting the huge numbers of Plath fans online”, and on talking about the repackages from a design perspective.

Meanwhile, Simon & Schuster is publishing a biography of Plath focusing on her early life, Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted by Andrew Wilson (21st February, £20, hb), using her early poems, letters and diaries to explore her life before her romance with Hughes. The book also includes previously unseen photographs of Plath taken by a boyfriend of the time.

S&S non-fiction director Mike Jones said the biography “brings her to life” and “out of the shadow of Ted Hughes”.

Also available in the UK will be American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath by Carl Rollyson, from US Macmillan imprint St Martin’s Press (29th January, £18.73, hb).