Daunt turns publisher to mark Bedford’s centenary

Daunt turns publisher to mark Bedford’s centenary

Daunt Books, the publishing arm of Daunt’s bookshops, is to re-publish two titles by Man Booker-shortlisted author Sybille Bedford, to mark what would have been her centenary on 16th March. A Favourite of the Gods (£9.99, pb) will be published on the day, with a follow-up, A Compass Error, to be released in September. Both were out of print.

Coverage around the anniversary will include the Daily Telegraph, Observer, TLS, Spectator, the Lady and Sky Arts’ “The Book Show”; website www.sybillebedford.com has been launched; while Hamish Hamilton’s Five Dials magazine will devote its next issue to her.

Laura Macaulay, publisher of Daunts Books, a bookseller and former assistant editor at Hodder, said the titles would have initial print runs of “about 3,000”. “[She’s] one of those authors who is very beloved of slightly older readers, but her books are about youth and childhood and learning to live; they’re amazing to read [and we’re hoping for a] new younger audience.”

Bedford’s novels will launch Daunt Books after its soft launch with the release of Saki’s Improper Stories last year. Macauley said she was looking for “books that we know that our customers love”. She said it was “such early days” that no further titles have been confirmed yet, but the list will comprise literary fiction and non-fiction, both forgotten titles and new works.

Bedford was born on 16th March 1911. Her novel Jigsaw was shortlisted for the Man Booker in 1989. She was elected a Companion of Literature in 1994 and died in 2006.

International events for the German-born author will include a “Sybille Bedford Centennial Evening” in New York on 24th March. Jigsaw and her memoir Quicksands, published by Eland and Penguin respectively in the UK, will be re-published in Italy by Neri Pozza. In Germany, Bedford’s legal title, The Worst We Can Do, will be published for the first time by Schirmer/Mosel.