Hardback publisher Everyman’s Library is this year celebrating its 110th anniversary, and the 25th anniversary of its revival under David Campbell, through a partnership with British furniture brand Heal’s.
The partnership will explore "what a library means in the 21st century" and "how to create one in a modern home, with space at a premium".
Writers Kazuo Ishiguro, Ali Smith and Philip Pullman participated by selecting the top five classics they would include on the library shelf. And over the next six months until its anniversary in October, Everyman’s Library and Heal’s will bring together more authors, readers and designers to share their inspiration and to celebrate beautiful books and design.
Ali Smith's five classics for her library.
Everyman and Heal’s have further created a "How to" guide, featuring tips from a panel of "bookish experts" on "everything a bookworm might need", from selecting books to displaying them, storage tips to conservation tips. Experts providing their input include Simona Lyons, school of life bibliotherapist; Matt Elton, furniture designer; Sarah-Jane Hamlyn, lead preventative conservator at The British Library; and Kirsty Whyte, Heal’s product and design manager.
A book club of bloggers will also take part in a six month challenge to read and select their ultimate home library of five books, #MyEverymansLibrary, and a digital and print campaign will be run through social media and bookshops asking the public how they would arrange theirs.
Further public activities and events will take place in October, and Everyman’s Library’s 2016 titles include James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room and Go Tell it on the Mountain, Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea & The Severed Head, Paris Stories, Shaken and Stirred: Intoxicating Stories, Mavis Gallant’s The Collected Stories, Henry James’ The Ambassadors and Mark Twain’s Collected Nonfiction.
Everyman’s Library is an imprint of Alfred A Knopf, that is sold and distributed by Random House in the UK and published by Alfred A Knopf in the United States. David Campbell reinvented Everyman’s Library in October 1991 with Random House UK and Alfred A Knopf US, after it originally launched in 1906 by Joseph Dent on the premise of opening reading up to "‘every kind of reader: the worker, the cultured man, the child, the man the woman".
Furniture designer Matt Elton's "How to" guide.
Heal's is said to have "strong literary links", notably with Dodie Smith, author of I Capture the Castle and 101 Dalmatians, who worked in the store and had an affair with then-owner Ambrose Heal. Heal created and dedicated a Dodie range to her, still on sale in the store.
Everyman’s Library includes Modern Classics, Pocket Classics, Pocket Poets and Children’s Classics. David Campbell, publisher of Everyman’s Library, said: "It is astonishing and rather humbling that it is 25 years since I relaunched Everyman’s Library. Then, paperbacks completely dominated the classics market and e-books and even the internet were in the future. Since then, we have published more than 650 titles in hardback in a number of series and sold more than 26 million books. I am delighted that for our 25th year we have teamed up with Heal’s to show and discuss how to build a library which, whether modest or large, can provide lifelong enjoyment for oneself and for children and grandchildren.”
Pia Benham, head of collections at Heal’s, commented: “Heal’s have a close link to publishing and books, our first high profile foray was in 1837 when we started placing illustrated adverts on the book jacket of Bleak House by Charles Dickens, Heals being one of the first to do this. Books continue to be integral to Heal’s, our customers and their homes. They bring personality and context to a space and tell you so much about the owner. After all, ‘books do furnish a home,’ and none better than Everyman’s Library’s beautiful editions.”
Author Ali Smith said during a "Bookish Breakfast" with Everyman’s Library at Heal’s: “It’s like approaching bookshelf perfection just the thought of having these books by my side – and with that phrase I’m recalling the quote from the medieval Everyman play that turns up on the inside of many of Everyman’s publications, ‘Everyman, I will go with thee and be thy guide, in thy most need to go by thy side’.”