The Duke of Wellington’s victory over Napoleon in 1815 at Waterloo ensured British dominance for the rest of the nineteenth century. It took three days and two hours for word to travel from Belgium in a form that people could rely upon. This is a tragi-comic midsummer’s tale that begins amidst terrible carnage and weaves through a world of politics and military convention, enterprise and roguery, frustration, doubt and jealousy, to end spectacularly in the heart of Regency society at a grand soiree in St James’s Square after feverish journeys by coach and horseback, a Channel crossing delayed by falling tides and a flat calm, and a final dash by coach and four from Dover to London.
At least five men were involved in bringing the news or parts of it to London, and their stories are fascinating. Brian Cathcart, a brilliant storyteller and historian, has visited the battlefield, travelled the messengers’ routes, and traced untapped British, French and Belgian records. This is a strikingly original perspective on a key moment in British history.
See below for Hugh Grant reading from Wellingon’s Waterloo dispatch.
Get your copy of here: The News from Waterloo: The Race to Tell Britain of Wellington’s Victory
Michael O’Mara Books is to publish the memoir of the m.d. of British retailer Liberty.
Publishing director Hugh Barker acquired At Liberty: From Rehab to the Front Row by Ed Burstell from Adam Gauntlett at PFD.
The book will be published on 1st October, with a large in-store book launch and signing at Liberty of London.
Michael O’Mara said Burstell’s story was “an affecting, candid and wildly funny tale of one man’s meteoric rise to the top of the retail and fashion world – from heroin addict to m.d. of Liberty, one of Britain’s most iconic institutions”.
Barker said: “I’m a huge fan of Ed Burstell, particularly after the success of the “Liberty of London” series on Channel 4. At Liberty promises to be a window for any reader onto a seemingly glamorous world, a world that Ed writes about with a spark, a fantastic sense of pathos, and wry, self-deprecating humour. Ed really is a larger-than-life character, on and off the page’
Burstell said: “I’m so thrilled to be announcing my autobiography. It’s been quite a ride and I can’t wait to share the highs, lows and all the wild exploits in between that led me to where I am today.”
At Liberty: From Rehab to the Front Row will be published in £20 hardback.
“13 Feb 1991: Nadia Lawrence [my editor at Heinemann] rang. I am the first Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, apparently, but it is a secret as the other people on the shortlist mustn’t know before the presentation dinner next month. Relief — now I can carry on writing stories and not worry about publishers preferring novels.
“26 Mar 1991: I only got back at 4.30am — could hear the dawn chorus twittering. The dress was worth it, comfortable as a tracksuit. [I’d spent some of the prize money in advance on a thin black stretch-velvet column printed up and down with gilt cherubs and curlicues — I still have it somewhere]. The judges were Penny Perrick, Valerie Grove and John Walsh, who described Four Bare Legs in a Bed flatteringly (though used the word gynaecological at one point to my horror). The worst bit was when they were doing the teasing running-up speech to the award. I thought I wasn’t nervous but I noticed my heart doubled its speed. Shook hands with Muriel Spark [giving the prize, along with Joan Collins — can that be right?]. Our table [Heinemann] was the last left in the room. Helen Fraser and Nadia offered to go my way — but X & Y had said they were hungry so we three went off after midnight in search of food. Chinese restaurant in Soho, illegal sake in a teapot, talk of life, love, freedom, travel.”
Other prizes followed but this Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award was the first, giving a generous dose of encouragement and cash at the very point it was needed. Twenty-five years on I am still writing stories (my sixth collection, Cockfosters, is out later this year).
Helen Simpson was born in Bristol and grew up in London.
She read English at Oxford University, where she wrote a thesis on Restoration farce, then worked for five years as a staff writer at Vogue before becoming a freelance-writer, contributing articles to newspapers and magazines and publishing two cookery books.
Her first collection of short stories, Four Bare Legs in a Bed and Other Stories(1990), won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and a Somerset Maugham Award and she was chosen as one of Granta magazine’s 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists 2′ in 1993. Further short story collections include Dear George (1995); Hey Yeah Right Get a Life (2000), a collection of loosely linked stories about modern women and motherhood, which won the Hawthornden Prize in 2001; and Constitutional (2005).
She also wrote the libretto for the jazz opera, Good Friday, 1663, screened on Channel 4 television, and the lyrics for Kate and Mike Westbrook’s jazz suiteBar Utopia.
Helen Simpson lives in London and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her latest story collection is In-Flight Entertainment (2010). In 2012, a new selection of her short stories was published, including stories from all five previous collections, entitled A Bunch of Fives.
Congratulations to all the PFD/Pollinger authors whose books are out today!
Congratulations to Bear Grylls, whose first adult thriller Ghost Flight is out today. This book is a hair-raising adventure, extreme survival quest and a shocking mystery reaching back into the horrors of Nazi Germany. Catch up with Bear tomorrow at 12pm at the Royal Institution, London, and get your copy here.
Graham Masterton‘s Blood Sisters has also hit out book shelves! In this gruesome new thriller, Katie Maguire hunts a serial killer targeting nuns. The ebook is out today, with the hardback following in October. Download your copy here.
Churchill’s Secret Warriors from bestselling author Damien Lewis is out in paperback today! This is the story of a band of eccentric free-thinking soldiers who Churchill assembled to be the first ‘deniable’ secret operatives to strike behind enemy lines during World War Two.
If you missed this book which the Daily Mail praised as ‘one of the most extraordinary stories of World War II …an eloquent and welcome tribute to their selfless, sometimes reckless courage – a howitzer of a tale that more people should know about’ in hardback, get your copy of the paperback here.
Nikki Owen‘s debut novel – the first in a gripping new trilogy – The Spider in the Corner of the Room is a high-concept, psychological conspiracy thriller, which bestselling author Kimberley Chambers called “powerful and gripping- an adrenaline-filled thriller you won’t forget”. Look out for the tube posters on your journey around London. Get your copy here.
From our sister company Pollinger, Dreamstreets by Jacqueline Yallop is also out today. This thoughtful book is a history of one of the most enduring experiments of Victorian philanthropy – the ‘model’ village. Pick up a copy here.
And finally, we’re very pleased to announce new editions of The Moving Toyshop, Holy Disorders, and Love Lies Bleeding, from our estates author, Edmund Crispin – published by Harper Collins as part of Collins Crime Club. Get your copies here:The Moving Toyshop, Holy Disorders, Love Lies Bleeding.
“The Mahé Circle is a sort of masterpiece; one says “sort of” because the book does not call itself to our attention in any purely literary way. Simenon’s uniqueness is that he created high literature in seemingly low forms. This novel, like most of the romans durs, reads like a piece of pulp fiction: it is brief, fast-paced, with an air of the slapdash that is, however, wholly deceptive. True, Simenon wrote fast, and revised little. Yet his artistry is supreme. The account in this book of old Madame Mahé’s descent into illness and death is a sublime piece of writing, as good, in its unforced and unemphatic way, as anything in Proust or even Flaubert.”
Read the full article.
18 PFD authors appeared at the Hay Festival this year, including Bear Grylls, Steve Peters, Simon Schama, Alex Salmond, Sarah Winman and Celia Imrie. A brilliant time was had by all our authors and the staff of PFD who were out in droves to support them.
Sunday Times bestseller Peter Moore gave a talk about his latest book The Weather Experiment and a generation of mavericks who set out to explain the secrets of the atmosphere and learned to predict the future.
Bear Grylls launched his thriller Ghost Flight, in which his hero is sent deep into the Amazon jungle on the hunt for a WW2 secret. Ghost Flight is out on Thursday, and it’s available to preorder now!
Alex Salmond introduced his Sunday Times #1 bestselling book, The Dream Shall Never Die: 100 Days That Changed Scotland Forever, before signing books and talking to attendees for two and a half hours after the talk!
Pollinger/New Directors author László Krasznahorkai, the winner of the International Man Booker Prize 2015, spoke to Marina Warner about his life and career.
Alongside Terry Waite, national treasure Celia Imrie talked about her first novel Not Quite Nice, a gloriously funny and charming novel about the joys and challenges of being an ex-pat in the French Riviera.
Steve Peters, the consultant psychiatrist,spoke to a full house in the Tata Tent about his bestselling book The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness.
Actress Jenny Agutter, screenwriter and author Heidi Thomas and executive producer at Neal Street Productions Pippa Harris discuss the smash hit Call the Midwife, and the tie-in behind the scenes book The Life and Times of Call the Midwife.
Shireen Jilla discussed her new novel The Art of Unpacking your Life, about university friends trying to rediscover the ties that once bound them together, as they undertake a journey in the Kalahari desert.
Janice Hadlow talked about The Strangest Family: The Private Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and the Hanoverians, which the Sunday Times describes as “a perceptive, lively and wonderfully enjoyable book”.
Bryony Gordon joined Mary Ridell, Michael Deacon and Allister Heath for Telegraph Question Time, and also was spoke about her bestselling The Wrong Knickers in a discussion about what it means to be a modern woman with Polly Vernon.
Simon Schama introduced a screening of André Singer’s documentary Night Will Fall, a newly discovered record from the time of the liberation of Europe’s concentration camps, and also spoke about his latest project, The Story of the Jews: When Words Fail, out in November 2015. The first volume, The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words – 1000BC – 1492CE, was published last year.
Children’s author Catherine Fisher was in discussion with Michelle Harrison and Lindsey Barraclough about folk stories and fairytales, and her most recent book The Door in the Moon.
See you all again next year!
Congratulations to Damien Lewis and Peter Moore for their success last week, with Judy: A Dog in a Million by Damien Lewis and The Weather Experiment by Peter Moore both reaching #8 in the Sunday Times paperback and hardback non-fiction bestsellers lists, respectively. Get your copies, if you haven’t already!
A truly wonderful achievement for our Pollinger/New Directions author, László Krasznahorkai, who has just been announced as the winner of 2015 Man Booker International Prize. The judges said of Krasznahorkai’s work: “What strikes the reader above all are the extraordinary sentences, sentences of incredible length that go to incredible lengths, their tone switching from solemn to madcap to quizzical to desolate as they go their wayward way.”
Bloomsbury Reader began their complete reissue of H.E. Bates’ short story collections on Thursday, starting with his first published collection, Day’s End and Other Stories. If you’ve never read an H.E. Bates short story, we urge you try try Castle in the Air, which is available for free at all ebook retailers.
For 27 years Hay Festival (21st-31st May 2015) has brought together writers from around the world to debate and share stories at its festival in the staggering beauty of the Welsh Borders. Join us for a host of talks by PFD authors. Click the links below to browse the programme and buy tickets to each event:
Saturday 23rd May
Peter Moore talks about The Weather Experiment (10.00am) and a generation of mavericks who set out to explain the secrets of the atmosphere and learned to predict the future.
Helen Lederer, the actress and comedy writer introduces her desperately funny first novel Losing It (10.00am).
Steve Peters, the consultant psychiatrist to Liverpool FC, Sky ProCycling, Ronnie O’Sullivan and the England football team introduces The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness (1.00pm).
Sunday 24th May
Sarah Winman, the author of When God Was a Rabbit – selected for World Book Night 2015 – introduces her second novel A Year of Marvellous Ways (10.00am).
Tuesday 26th May
Shireen Jilla explores friendships unravelling and ravelling as old university friends set out on a Kalahari journey in her book The Art of Unpacking your Life (11.30am).
Janice Hadlow talks about The Strangest Family: The Private Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and the Hanoverians (5.30pm). George III wanted to be a new kind of king, one whose power was rooted in the affection and approval of his people. And he was determined to revolutionise his private life.
Wednesday 27th May
Bryony Gordon joins Mary Ridell, Michael Deacon and Allister Heath for Telegraph Question Time (4.00pm) discussing everything from Farage and the future of Europe to feminism and family life.
Jamie Bartlett speaks about The Dark Net (7.00pm), an underworld that stretches from popular social media sites to the most secretive corners of the encrypted web. It is a world that frequently appears in newspaper headlines, but one that is little understood, and rarely explored.
Friday 29th May
Tony Juniper explores What Nature Does For Britain (4.00pm) – from the peat bogs and woodlands that help to secure our water supply, to the bees and soils that produce most of the food we eat, Britain is rich in ‘natural capital’.
Saturday 30th May
Polly Vernon talks to Bryony Gordon, author of The Wrong Knickers (1.00pm). A trip through feminism, fashion, the righteous pursuit of a sexy vibe, and what it means to be a woman when you’re on the receiving end of modern media’s hilariously/bizarrely/insanely contradictory/restrictive/reductive/sometimes just straightforward revolting notions of womanhood.
Simon Schama, the historian and author of The Story of the Jews introduces a screening of André Singer’s documentary Night Will Fall (8.30pm). When Allied forces liberated the Nazi concentration camps, their terrible discoveries were recorded by army cameramen, revealing for the first time the horror of what had happened.
Sunday 31st May
Alex Salmond relates the inside story of the campaign for Scottish independence (10.00am), told in his diary – The Dream Shall Never Die: 100 Days That Changed Scotland Forever.
Alongside Terry Waite, Celia Imrie talks about her fiction debut Not Quite Nice (10.00am), a gloriously funny and charming novel about the joys and challenges of living abroad from one of the nation’s best-loved actresses, star of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and author of the witty memoir The Happy Hoofer.
Simon Schama examines the persistence of Anti-Semitism in the contemporary world (11.30am). Simon’s latest project is the book and documentary series The Story of the Jews. Volume 2 – When Words Fail will be published in November.
Jenny Agutter, Heidi Thomas and Pippa Harris discuss Call the Midwife (1.00pm). The star, screenwriter and producer of the television drama discuss the stories and period of Jennifer Worth’s best-selling books.
Bear Grylls launches his thriller Ghost Flight (2.30pm), in which his hero is sent deep into the Amazon jungle on the hunt for a WW2 secret. Bear’s recent non-fiction includes True Grit, Extreme Food and Your Life – Train For It.
Peter Hain revisits Anthony Crosland’s classic text Back to the Future of Socialism (5.30pm) and presents a stimulating political prospectus for today.
See the full schedule of events at www.hayfestival.com.