This is an ad for LK Bennett which appeared (interesting) in the V and A magazine. We love the hairstyle, the clothes, the bag, the white tiles and, especially, the enamel table top. Also the atmosphere reminds us of our own cheap and cheerful, Sid’s, next door, described by Jane Brocket as ‘a rarity in London: a long-established, authentic, unpretentious, family-run local café with character. It is always packed and everyone squashes in with great good humour.’
is the picture we have sent out with our Mother’s Day free gift-wrapping offer. It shows the new colours we have for wrapping paper. If you are not already on our email list, please put yourself on and then you too can order books to be sent out gift-wrapped free of charge. We are also about to have a new, sturdier envelope for our books. It is used by our favourite Hive and then we realised that of course we too could have the slightly heavier-weight envelopes. (We are in the process of trying to set up a special relationship with Hive, for example to tell people who buy e-books from us that one can download a free Hive app in order to download e-books from them.)
There will be an event celebrating Giorgio Bassani at the Royal Society of Literature at Somerset House on Monday 17 March at 7 pm. The recent issue of the London Library magazine (free to members) had an excellent piece by Desmond Hogan about Bassani’s novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, linking it to Etty Hillesum at the end. Hogan remembers going to Amsterdam in 1995 when ‘the Jewish Council headquarters on Niewe Keizersgracht was now occupied by an acumpunturist, a television film-maker, an industrial graphic artist. From there I cycled to the house on Gabriel Metsustraat in south Amserdam where Etty Hillesum lived, whose diaries and letters were published by Persephone Books in 1999 as An Interrupted Life. Like Micol Finzi-Contini, Etty Hillesum was a student of literature. She died in Auschwitz in November 1943. She’d gone there with a Tolstoy book. It was over 20 years since I had first read The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, in the 1974 Faber edition translated by Isabel Quigly, but the fate of the Finzi-Continis, like that of Hillesum, was something that haunted me and that I still ponder often, and had driven me to these memorial bicycle trips in the rain.’ January 15th was of course the centenary of Etty’s birth. Professor Mary Evans wrote a superb article called ‘Etty Hillesum: an intellectual woman ahead of her time’ in the THE .
Another totally admirable woman was Helen Suzman. There is a new biography of her by Robin Renwick and Simon Jenkins wrote about her in the Guardian. And here is a rather fascinating 1983 interview with her on YouTube.
There was is an interesting piece in the Economist about Wikipedia – we could particularly relate to the paragraph about ‘the fabled grumpiness of established editors’ since we have tremendous difficulties about getting even the simplest fact about Persephone Books onto Wikipedia. Once we tried to upload something perfectly factual and harmless onto the Wikipedia page for Persephone and it was ‘grumpily’ removed – so if you do happen to go there, and there are errors, they are not our fault.
Sim Fine Art have an exhibition at the BADA Fair in Duke of York Square from 19-25 March. They always have newly discovered paintings and one goes to their shows with a small sense of excitement. The theme is the First World War, which is also the theme of an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, where, for example, you will find this 1917 self-portrait by Orpen.
And in Chichester there is an exhibition called From Fields to Factories until 10 May which explores the role of women in the Women’s Land Army and Munitions; here you will find Randolph Schwabe‘s extraordinary The Women’s Land Army and German Prisoners 1918.
The Women’s Library is about to move into its new home at LSE: the Guardian wrote about this and reproduced Emily Davison’s iconic return ticket , featured in last year’s Emily Davison centenary exhibitio:
Lucy Kellaway wrote an amusing and quite profound article about gossip. There was a fascinating and rather scarey piece about the online world of teenagers.More soothingly, there is anexhibition at Kettle’s Yard until 11th May, after that it will go to the Dulwich Picture Gallery until September, it is called Art and Life 1920-31 and features Ben and Winifred Nicholson. Winifred’s glorious Cyclamen and Primula c 1922 is in the exhibition.
Finally, who knew that the final performance of Beyond the Fringe was on YouTube – what a treat.
59 Lamb’s Conduit Street