Hello! I've just checked and it's somehow four years since I first announced that I was compiling a Letters of Note book, crowdfunded at Unbound. Thanks to you lot, life since then has been surreal to say the least. I’ve been amazed and gratified that so many people, in so many countries, have supported, bought, and read my first book. THANK YOU for helping make it happen.
One of the best things about the process of publishing such a book is the huge number of readers, libraries, authors' estates, archivists and literary curators who have alerted me to wonderful new caches of correspondence. In the two years since I finished Letters of Note I’ve been busy going through these and have come up with a second selection – Letters of Note: Volume II – which I genuinely think is even stronger and more varied than the first.
Here are just some of the treasures it will contain:
- A beautiful condolence letter from Emily Dickinson following the death of her nephew
- Florence Nightingale's letter home about the appalling horrors of the Crimean War
- Norman Mailer refusing to give his father money to feed his gambling addiction
- A customer complaint letter from 1450 BC
- An excited letter home from Janis Joplin, just as she's on the cusp of stardom
- Alan Turing's letter to fellow mathematician Norman Routledge shortly before he was charged with gross indecency
- Charlotte’s Web author E.B. White writing to his little newborn son, pretending to be Daisy the family dog
- John Cleese's response to a query about his fan club, claiming that all his members have been killed by Michael Palin's fan club
- A letter from John Lennon to Eric Clapton asking him to join his supergroup
- Heartbreaking notes scrawled by the passengers on Japan Airlines flight 123, written minutes before it crashed
- Marge Simpson writing to Barbara Bush after she called The Simpsons the 'dumbest family she ever saw'
- Air Chief Marshall Hugh Dowding to Churchill in 1940, making the request which would later ensure British aerial supremacy in the Battle of Britain
- A letter from Carl Jung to James Joyce discussing his reservations about Ulysses
- A young boy's letter to Blue Peter about ‘making animals alive’ and the reply, which inspired him to become a world-renowned doctor
- Che Guevara’s note to his children to be read in the event of his death asking them to feel 'deeply any injustice committed against anyone’
- ...and SO many more, some of which I can't mention as they're too exciting.
The book's special edition will be crowdfunded at Unbound again, because they're brilliant and they love books more than anyone; it will contain 125 letters, more than half of which have not appeared on this website. Physically, the book will be the same perfect shape, size and quality as last time. I’m delighted to be working with Caz Hildebrand and the team at Here Design again, who will be coming up with something stunning that will match the last book (and Lists of Note) – particularly when lined up on a shelf (these things matter…)
We have a crack team in place clearing the billions of permissions necessary for such a monster and I’m working hard to finish off the editing. Everything is looking fantastic. All of which means that – as long as you help us hit our target – the brand new Unbound special edition will be despatched in the Autumn, in plenty of time for Christmas.
PLEASE head over to Unbound and watch me being shifty and ineloquent when trying to describe the whole thing using my mouth, and please PLEDGE! I promise you will love this book.