McCall Smith on board for new indie Manderley's series

McCall Smith on board for new indie Manderley's series

New indie publisher Manderley Press is publishing a series of forgotten or out-of-print books inspired by buildings, houses, places or landmarks, starting with Robert Louis Stevenson's Edinburgh with an introduction from Alexander McCall Smith.

The publisher, founded this year by Rebeka Russell, will reissue around six books a year, and each title will feature a specially commissioned introduction by a contemporary writer, and new front cover artwork. Both the artist and writer will be chosen for their connections to the place at the heart of each publication.

Edinburgh will be published in November this year with an introduction by bestselling Edinburgh-based author McCall Smith. He said: “This is not a compendium of dry facts – this is an account of why Stevenson found Edinburgh so fascinating and such a rich source of inspiration for his writing.”

Many of the buildings, places and people Stevenson describes in Edinburgh would inform the settings of his classic adventure novels, including Kidnapped, Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. McCall Smith said: “If every writer has his place that comes to mind when he or she closes his or her eyes, then for Stevenson it is the narrow closes of Edinburgh’s Old Town, the dank tenements, the windy passages that do that work. Stevenson inhabited Edinburgh in the fullest possible sense. He knew its twists and turns, its colourful, violent history, its glories and absurdities, its pretences and ambitions."

Russell said: “I am so excited to be able to get these wonderful books into readers' hands, and I'm delighted to have such a fantastic range of contemporary writers and artists to showcase each title. I can't wait to reintroduce them to a brand-new audience.”

The books will be produced as small hardback editions, quarter-bound in cloth and printed on high quality paper. Cover artwork will be available to buy separately as prints.

Russell added: “I have always loved books, art, travel and old houses, so when lockdown happened and my usual editing jobs were put on hold, I decided the time was perfect to set up Manderley Press. Armchair travel and literary escapism had never seemed so important!”