On 1st May I was lucky enough to be invited to the Folio offices to see the launch of their summer book collection. I took the afternoon off work and crossed Tower Bridge at rush hour to arrive at their offices on Maguire Street for 6.30.
I met Melanie and Vicki, who both work in PR and Digital Marketing and they took me through the new Summer collection which launched on 2nd May. The books were all displayed on a table and we were encouraged to pick them up and handle them while the staff, who are extremely knowledgeable about the books, told us how they came about.
There are 15 new editions:
SOUTH POLAR TIMES
This Folio edition is the complete facsimile of all twelve original issues of the South Polar Times – Captain Scott’s expedition magazine. Because the members of the exhibition were bored on their travels with nothing to do, they produced their own newsletters and these are reproduced in this book. They are produced as they were originally created, down to the blue typeface and the beautiful diagrams.
A TALE OF TWO CITIES Charles Dickens
This chronicle of love and revolution by the master storyteller is part of the Dickens collection. Reproducing the Nonesuch text, this new edition is introduced by Hilary Mantel and includes original illustrations by Phiz. The third in a stunning new series of Charles Dickens books.
OLIVER TWIST Charles Dickens
Another new addition to the Dickens collection, this tale of an orphan’s ascendance from pickpocket to squire reproduces the 1937 Nonesuch text and illustrations and is introduced by Peter Ackroyd.
THE ANGLO-SAXONS James Campbell
Still one of the most influential books in its field, Campbell’s account of six hundred years of power struggles, blood-feuds, conquest and gold hoards is now vividly portrayed by Folio with full-colour photographs.
I AM LEGEND Richard Matheson
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson’s brutal tale of survival and vampires, arrives in a spectacular Folio edition – illustrated by artist Dave McKean. A luxury edition is also available, bound in black leather with red foil on the inside cover, including a limited edition signed print by McKean.
THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE: CULTURE AND SOCIETY IN ITALY Peter Burke
From patronage to postcode – Peter Burke reveals how social history shaped Renaissance art in our exquisite edition illustrated with examples of the period’s great works.
A collection of 170 quaint, comic and curious tales that delve deep into Medieval Japanese culture. The striking single and double-page illustrations of Yuko Shimizu bring a contemporary twist to the classical subjects.
MAIGRET THREE-VOLUME SET Georges Simenon
Georges Simenon’s celebrated French detective Maigret appears in his first illustrated editions, featuring woodcuts by Harry Brockway and an introduction by Julian Barnes.
A GENERAL HISTORY OF THE ROBBERIES & MURDERS OF THE MOST NOTORIOUS PIRATES Captain Charles Johnson
The bloodthirsty biographies of the world’s most infamous pirates are reproduced in this new edition of the pre-eminent piracy book, including original woodcut illustrations and the lives of Blackbeard, Kidd and many more.
THE SNOW LEOPARD Peter Matthiessen
An iconic Tibetan travelogue that inspired a generation of trekkers and nature lovers. This edition includes previously unpublished expedition photographs and is introduced by the author’s son Alex.
STEPPENWOLF Hermann Hesse
In publishing Hermann Hesse for the first time, Folio presents an edition of Steppenwolf featuring images by Dan Hillier, and a very unusual facsimile, bound into the book itself.
THREE MEN ON THE BUMMEL Jerome K. Jerome
A cycling jaunt in Germany provides the backdrop for this laugh-out-loud novel from the master of Victorian quick wit; the escapades beautifully illustrated by Paul Cox.
THE TWELVE CAESARS
The gripping first-hand account of the turbulent history of Imperial Rome told through the lives of the Caesars, from Julius Caesar to Domitian, vividly translated and illustrated with wood-engraving portraits.
THE YANGTZE VALLEY AND BEYOND Isabella Bird
Isabella Bird’s brutally honest account of her solo voyage along the Yangtze River remains a valuable record of a long-gone way of life in a country radically altered by time.
I spoke at length with Vicki Traino who is head of PR and Digital Marketing. She was able to tell me in some detail how the process of putting together a Folio edition happens, from approaching either the author or the author’s estate, to choosing the right artist, how the artist reads the book and produces artwork for approval. All the art work is quite different from black and white woodblock illustrations in the Maigret set of books to the beautiful colour illustrations of Japanese Tales.
Bookcases walled the room we were in with many hundreds of other Folio editions. Highlights (and future purchases) for me included The Handmaids Tale and Rebecca.
The launch ended around 7.45 and we were each given a goody bag including a beautiful Summer anthology, some greeting cards featuring illustrations from Folio books and a stunning hardback illustrated diary.