Virago is publishing two collections of Noel Streatfeild's previously-unpublished short stories discovered in the late author's archives.
Streatfeild, best known for her Shoes series of children's books, died in 1986. Her unpublished short stories, however, were discovered when her executor and nephew, Willian Streatfeild, allowed Virago's editorial director Donna Coonan to look through her old papers before they were donated to Newcastle's Seven Stories museum.
Virago will now publish Christmas anthology by Streatfeild in November 2018 and a holiday collection in summer 2019.
Describing the opportunity as "such a privilege", Coonan was not disappointed by what she found and will now be collating and publishing two separate anthologies of stories bringing Streatfeild's forgotten "gems" to light.
"I could hardly believe what gems there were in the files – stories written from 1940s-70s," said Coonan. "Streatfeild’s output was prodigious: she wrote for children’s annuals, radio programmes, newspapers and magazines, and from these we have compiled two anthologies – one with a festive theme, and one for the summer holidays.
"As you’d expect from the writer of Ballet Shoes, there are lots of tales from the stage, and a marvellous Christmas pantomime outing with the Bell family – but there is so much more."
William Streatfeild added: "We had such fun looking again through the boxes of papers before they went, and I am glad to say found some really wonderful stories which are now going to see the light of day again. I found it amazing that Noel could work her tear-jerking magic with even very short stories."
Prior to this it will also be reissuing two "gentle, intelligent" novels by Streatfeild on its classic children’s list in July 2018, Apple Bough and Caldicott Place. According to Coonan, the novels have "so much to say about friendship, families, aspiration and belonging that I know they will find lots of new readers".
UK and Commonwealth rights in the books were acquired from Julia Churchill at A M Heath.