On 22nd October I was invited to preview the Folio 2019 Christmas Collection at their offices in London near Tower Bridge. I’m lucky enough to be invited twice a year and it is always a treat to be shown all the stunning books and to admire their bookshelves!
We were hosted by Melanie and Vicki, who both work in PR and Digital Marketing who are so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about every aspect of the books, from the illustrations to the publishing process and encouraged us to pick them up and look at them.
As well as the Christmas collection which I’ll detail below, they also showed some of their other recent releases.
The Christmas collection includes 14 new editions, all with stunning slipcases and illustrations:
- Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Illustrated by Charles van Sandwyk
The Folio Society presents a glorious new edition of Lewis Carroll’s immortal tale, illustrated by acclaimed artist Charles van Sandwyk.
- A Hero Born – Legends of the Condor Heroes by Jin Yong
Illustrated by Ye Luying; Introduced by Ken Liu; Translated by Anna Holmwood
Jin Yong’s action-packed fantasy transports readers deep into China’s tumultuous past. This Folio edition of A Hero Born features stunning artwork by Ye Luying and an introduction by Ken Liu.
- A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Illustrated by Jonny Hannah; Foreword by Walker Percy; Preface by Bill Bailey
Brilliantly conceived and outrageously funny, John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces makes its illustrated debut in a standout edition that includes a new preface by Bill Bailey.
- The Dispossessed – An Ambiguous Utopia by Ursula K. Le Guin
Illustrated by David Lupton; Introduced by Brian Attebery
Le Guin’s Hugo Award-winning The Dispossessed explodes with the possibilities of science and human endeavour. This edition features 14 illustrations by David Lupton, and an introduction by Brian Attebery.
- The Diversity of Life by Edward O. Wilson
Foreword by Bill McKibben
Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist Edward O. Wilson’s classic account of evolution and biodiversity remains as relevant as when first published in 1992. The Folio edition of The Diversity of Life features wonderful colour wildlife images and a foreword by Bill McKibben.
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Illustrated by Marie-Alice Harel; Introduced by Marcus Sedgwick
This fantastical Folio edition of Diana Wynne Jones’s enchanting tale features artwork by Folio’s 2019 Book Illustration Competition winner.
- Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming
Illustrated by Fay Dalton
Ian Fleming’s spy takes on man-eating sharks and a diabolical criminal mastermind in Live and Let Die, the eighth volume in Folio’s James Bond collection.
- Maigret Set Two (Maigret in Society, Maigret Sets a Trap and Maigret’s Mistake) by Georges Simenon
Illustrated by Harry Brockway
The second Folio Maigret collection brings together three of Georges Simenon’s engrossing detective novels, alongside woodcut illustrations by the great Harry Brockway.
- Essays by Michel de Montaigne
Translated by Professor M. A. Screech; Selected and introduced by Sarah Bakewell
The Folio Society presents an exquisite gold-and-leather hardback of Essays by Renaissance nobleman and thinker Michel de Montaigne.
- The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Illustrated by Taylor Dolan; Introduced by Simon Callow; Translated by David Coward
The vaults of the Paris Opéra hide a hideous secret, and it’s revealed with theatrical flourish in this lavish new Folio edition.
- Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapuściński
Introduced by Maziar Bahari; Translated by Katarzyna Mroczkowska-Brand and William R. Brand
Illustrated with archive photography, Ryszard Kapuściński’s masterpiece of reportage, Shah of Shahs, is a welcome addition to the Folio collection.
- Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelyn Green
Illustrated by Romy Blümel; Introduced by Geraldine McCaughrean
Roger Lancelyn Green’s incredible stories and Romy Blumel’s arresting illustrations come together in this new edition of Tales of Ancient Egypt, published in series with Tales of the Greek Heroes.
- True Grit by Charles Portis
Illustrated by Juan Estaban Rodríguez; Introduced by Donna Tartt
A whiskey-swilling bounty hunter and a fearless teenage girl are unlikely allies in this electrifying all-American adventure introduced by Donna Tartt.
- Working – People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do by Studs Terkel
Introduced by Scott Simon
The fascinating working lives of ordinary people are revealed in Studs Terkel’s masterful chronicle of American life, published as an illustrated edition for the first time by Folio.
Other recent releases
As well as the Christmas collection, also available for us to look at were some other recent editions.
- Marvel: The Golden Age 1939-1949 Selected and introduced by Roy Thomas
In celebration of the 80th anniversary of Marvel Comics #1, The Folio Society has joined legendary Marvel editor Roy Thomas to form a super-powered team-up of their own. Marvel: The Golden Age 1939–1949 presents five specially curated comic books, including a meticulous facsimile of the comic that started it all back in 1939. Thomas’s selection includes Sub-Mariner #1, Human Torch #5, Captain America Comics #10, and All Winners Comics #19, and showcases the founding characters, debut appearances, famous battles and signature talent that helped define the Golden Age of American Super Hero comics.
- A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Illustrated by Jonathan Burton; Introduced by Joe Abercrombie
A story as epic as A Game of Thrones deserves an edition fit for the Iron Throne, and this lavish two-volume set drips with exquisite details. Award-winning illustrator Jonathan Burton has provided a series of gorgeous colour illustrations that take the reader deeper into the realms of Westeros than ever before. His work can also be seen in the stunning binding designs, the chapter heading illustrations, and even in a special image hidden on the inside of the unique slipcase. In an exclusive introduction, celebrated fantasy author Joe Abercrombie delves into how the book changed the landscape of the fantasy genre, while family trees – helping readers to keep their Lannisters separate from their Targaryens – have been designed at the end of the novel, alongside newly drawn House sigils. This spectacular set includes a new colour map of The Known World, folding out to reveal the full splendour of George R. R. Martin’s remarkable creation.
We were given a gorgeous tote bag, a 2020 diary and a beautiful notebook and I came away with a huge wish list! The Game of Thrones edition is definitely on it and my son’s were incredibly interested in the Marvel edition. It’s a good job they don’t take money on the night, or I’d probably have come away with quite a few!
The new collection can be found (and ordered) from here – https://www.foliosociety.com/uk/new