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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A day of inspired brilliance, books, tea and cake....

Books, tea and cakes are an award winning combination - especially when Persephone Books are involved.
There's no mistaking a Persephone book....paperbacks in a sophisticated dove grey with the most delicious endpapers, and a matching bookmark....the designs chosen  to complement the book with the right historical pedigree.

They not only look beautiful, they're very tactile, and there's one hundred and two books so far on the Persephone list......they're reprints of neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century writers, who mainly are women. They're thought -provoking, taking the reader back to a Britain very different to today... with domestic but universal themes and relationships shining out from the pages.

Over 40 of us gathered on Saturday afternoon in the teeny, tiny Kibworth bookshop to meet Nicola Beauman, who heads up Persephone Press. Although a writer of biographies plus a history of the women's novels from 1914-39, in an inspired moment of brilliance, Nicola set up her own publishing house in 1999 because there were so many writers she thought deserved to be heard again.

It's one thing to think about doing something like that, and actually going ahead with the idea. But she did. She also endured several hard years to begin with, and then something rather wonderful happened. One of Nicola's books, "Miss Pettigrew lives for a day" by Winifred Watson – was made into a film, after it surprisingly became a bestseller.

That was the turning point for Persephone Books...and the rest is history. There's a rather cultish sense of belonging when readers meet fellow devotees and many do meet up at the regular teas and events that are held. 

The one on Saturday was very jolly...after a frenzy of book buying, followed by Nicola's talk, tea and cakes were served....the tea cosy was knitted specially in grey by Kerry....


who managed to waltz her way through the crowded shop offering tea and some tasty treats.

And then there was time for most to have a word with Nicola..., buy some more books, and scurry home to open one of those dove grey books , sit, sigh with pleasure and begin to read ...

Today's track is from a Texas based band with which I'm rather enamoured. Great voices underpin each track, excellent lyrics and the violin enhance each  melody. The band is called the Good Mad and this song is called "In the grey"...just like all those hundred and two Persephone titles...



  1. All those people in that lovely little shop. It must have been a very friendly occasion! I love the ethos of Persephone Publishing and, as you say, those books are just begging to be touched. Wish I could have been there but I was out of Leicester so thanks for the blog report :-)

  2. It was very friendly Ros! It became very warm in there too! A lovely sorry you couldn't make it.....