Faber will celebrate the 80th anniversary of the acclaimed classic T S Eliot’s Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, with a film tie-in edition and a new audiobook read by Lemn Sissay.
Originally published in 1939, the new tie-in edition will publish on 7th November 2019. The cover features a still from Tom Hooper's upcoming film, "Cats". Featuring Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Idris Elba, the first trailer released on 18th July has racked up more 1.75 million views online. The film is due in UK cinemas on 20th December.
Leah Thaxton, children's publisher at Faber & Faber said: "With a cast to die for, T S Eliot’s Cats will finally get the movie outing they deserve. These fabulous, witty poems were never going to make for a boring film... I will certainly be defying all laws of gravity to get tickets!"
The Cats story began in 1925 when T S Eliot became co-director of Faber & Faber. Throughout the 1930s he composed the now famous poems about Macavity, Old Deuteronomy, Mr Mistoffelees and many other cats, under the name of 'Old Possum'. The poems remain a children’s classic and have been illustrated across the years by Nicolas Bentley, Edward Gorey, Axel Scheffler and Rebecca Ashdown. Since 1998 Practical Cats has sold 154,719 copies, across 18 different print editions, according to Nielsen.
Eliot's poems were later set to music by Andrew Lloyd Webber as "Cats", which opened on the West End in 1981 and on Broadway in 1982. It won numerous awards including Best Musical at both the Olivier and Tony Awards and went on to become the longest-running Broadway musical in history.
The tie-in edition comes as Faber publishes a new audiobook of Eliot’s classic poems read by poet, playwright and broadcaster Lemn Sissay.
Thaxton added: "Lemn Sissay brings his characteristic warmth, kind humour and immediacy to the recording - it’s a rare treat to hear him read these poems."
Sissay will be reading from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats on Sunday 24th November 2019 from 2pm to 3pm at the British Library, London. Tickets are available from their box office.
The collection joins a year-long celebration of Faber’s 90th anniversary which kicked off in January with a newly commissioned children’s logo from Júlia Sardà, a rising star illustrator from Barcelona. The new logo reflects the importance of cats in the history of Faber Children’s, from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats to Faber’s very first children’s book - Wanda Gág’s Millions of Cats, that was reissued in February.