Monday, December 23, 2013

More forthcoming titles

Three more exciting titles to announce!

We will be publishing Thomas Blackburn's autobiographical A Clip of Steel (1969) with a new foreword by his daughter, Julia Blackburn.  Earlier this year we published Blackburn's weird vampire/werewolf novel The Feast of the Wolf (1971).  Though told in what he called a 'picaresque' style, Blackburn's account of his childhood is deeply disturbing reading indeed.  His father feared two things above all else: dark skin and sex, and because he thought Thomas's skin was too dark, he tried bleaching it with frequent applications of peroxide and lemon juice; meanwhile, to stop the boy from having an erection, he provided him with a sharp-toothed metal device to clip on his penis (hence the book's title).  A fascinating and highly acclaimed memoir that those of you who enjoyed Feast of the Wolf or his brother John Blackburn's titles, will find of great interest.

Also new to our 2014 list is Hugh Walpole's The Killer and the Slain (1942), with an introduction by John Howard.  Though Walpole has been dead over 70 years, through a weird quirk of American copyright law, this one won't be in the public domain until 2064, so we're very pleased to be able to offer it now.  Walpole was a hugely popular author in the US and UK (the popularity of his book Jeremy led to an entire generation of boys being given that name), but his reputation unfortunately did not survive his death. The Killer and the Slain is one of what Walpole called his 'macabre' novels, and should be great fun.

Finally, last but definitely not least, we are thrilled to have been able to track down the estate of John Hampson and plan to publish his 1931 classic Saturday Night at the Greyhound, which was originally published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Hogarth Press and which was dedicated to Forrest Reid, who was a mentor to Hampson.  Hampson (1901-1955) was the author of several distinguished novels, including one, Go Seek a Stranger, which Virginia Woolf thought his best but which was never published due to its gay content.  Saturday Night was a surprise success for the Woolfs and also sold well as a Penguin paperback; it has been revived throughout the years on several occasions, but has not been in print since a 1986 paperback edition.

More new titles coming soon.  We wish everyone a happy Christmas and New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

James Kennaway and C.H.B. Kitchin

Exciting new 2014 titles continue to come in: here are a couple more we're particularly thrilled about.

James Kennaway (1928-1968) was highly acclaimed for his novels and was regarded as one of the greatest modern Scottish authors, winning acclaim for books such as Tunes of Glory (1956) (for which Kennaway earned an Oscar nomination when he adapted it for a film version starring Alec Guinness), Household Ghosts (1961), The Bells of Shoreditch (1963), The Cost of Living Like This (1969) and the posthumous Silence (1972). We will be reissuing his 1963 novel The Mind Benders (which he later adapted for the screen in a version starring Dirk Bogarde). In The Mind Benders (1963), Nobel Prize-winning scientist Prof. Sharpey unexpectedly commits suicide following his groundbreaking research into sensory deprivation using isolation tanks. When a suitcase of money is found near his body, Major Hall of British Intelligence suspects Sharpey may have been selling information to a foreign power. Sharpey's colleague, Dr Longman, is determined to clear his friend's name, but to find out why Sharpey killed himself, Longman must undergo a terrifying experiment in the isolation tank, with unexpected and extremely frightening results....

Kennaway died at age 40 after suffering a heart attack while driving his car.  Several of his works have been reissued by the Scottish publisher Canongate Classics, but The Mind Benders makes its first reappearance in 50 years.  Paul Gallagher will provide an introduction.

Meanwhile, one of our favorites, C.H.B. Kitchin (1895-1967), will be back with three new titles -- none of them ever reprinted before -- The Sensitive One (1931), Birthday Party (1938), and the posthumous A Short Walk in Williams Park (1971).  The latter will include a foreword by L.P. Hartley, while David Robinson and Adrian Wright have kindly agreed to introduce the first two.

We expect a flurry of new title announcements over the next few weeks, so keep checking back to see what's in store for 2014!

Monday, December 16, 2013

2014 Preview (part 1)

We're still waiting to hear back from agents or estates on a couple dozen extremely exciting titles, including by some quite prominent authors, so expect a second post in the next couple weeks, but in the meantime, here's a sneak peek at some of what's in store at Valancourt for 2014.

Michael McDowell, the great neglected Southern Gothic novelist and screenwriter of films such as Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas whose novel The Amulet we published earlier this year, returns with The Elementals (1981), a different kind of haunted house story that many fans think is one of the scariest horror novels ever written.  

New to Valancourt Books is Michael Talbot (1953-1992), best known for his book The Holographic Universe, and whose first novel, The Delicate Dependency (1982) will be reprinted for the first time ever.  Talbot's novel originally appeared as a paperback original from Avon Books and has gone on to acquire a legendary cult status as one of the best vampire novels ever written.  Secondhand copies are hard to come by and ridiculously expensive, and so strongly has the book stayed with its readers that even 30 years on, the book has 4.34/5.0 on and eighteen 5-star reviews on 

Frank De Felitta is best known for his bestseller Audrey Rose (1975), which was also a major feature film; his other big bestseller, The Entity (1978), was also a major film starring Barbara Hershey, and returns to print in a new edition with an introduction by author Gemma Files.  

Another newcomer to Valancourt is Jack Cady (1932-2004), whose works have won the Nebula, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy Awards; Cady's The Well (1980) returns to print with an introduction by Tom Piccirilli.  

John Blackburn, ten of whose horror novels and thrillers we've published in 2013, returns with four of his best: Children of the Night, A Ring of Roses, Devil Daddy, and Our Lady of Pain.

A number of new authors will be making their Valancourt debuts in 2014.  One of these is George Sims (1923-1999), who, like John Blackburn, was a rare bookseller and the author of critically acclaimed thrillers. Sims's Sleep No More (1966) and The Last Best Friend (1967), the latter of which was chosen by H.R.F. Keating as one of the best 100 crime and mystery novels ever written, will be out next year.

Gerald Kersh has been one of our most popular authors this year, and his novel Fowlers End has been called one of the great comic novels of the 20th century.  But did you know that he had a brother, also a writer, and also a great comic novelist?  Cyril Kersh joins the Valancourt lineup with his first novel, the hilarious and very scarce The Aggravations of Minnie Ashe (1970), which will feature an introduction by Séamas Duffy.

Colin Spencer (b. 1933) is perhaps best known as one of Britain's great writers on food and for his book on the history of homosexuality, but in the 1960s and 70s he was the author of a number of interesting and unusual novels, one of which, Panic (1972), about the psychology of a child murderer, will be joining our list.  

Michael Campbell's novel Lord Dismiss Us (1967) received rave reviews from Iris Murdoch, Anthony Burgess, Christopher Isherwood, and others on its initial appearance. It was revived in 1984 by the University of Chicago Press but has long been out of print and will return with a new introduction by Washington Post critic Dennis Drabelle.

Some of our favorites from 2013 will be returning with new titles in the new year, including Forrest Reid's final novel, Denis Bracknel (1947), four by the great J.B. Priestley (The Doomsday Men, The Shapes of Sleep, The Thirty-First of June, and Salt Is Leaving), two more by Stephen Gilbert (Bombardier, Monkeyface), and two fine novels by John Wain (Strike the Father Dead, A Winter in the Hills).

Fans of our editions of rare 18th and 19th century literature will have several great new titles to look forward to.  Neglected Gothic novelist Henry Summersett returns with Aberford (1798) and The Worst of Stains (1804).  Other Gothics include the anonymous Lusignan; or, The Abbaye of La Trappe (1801) and The Orphans of Llangloed (1802).  Victorian penny dreadfuls in the works include James Malcolm Rymer's The Black Monk (1844) and the second volume of our phenomenally popular The Mysteries of London by George W. M. Reynolds. The excellent Ernest G. Henham, alias John Trevena, returns with another weird Gothic tale, The Feast of Bacchus (1907), while Mary Elizabeth Braddon is back with one of her last novels, Dead Love Has Chains (1907). A. W. Clarke's Jaspar Tristram (1899) gets its first ever republication, and Prof. Jack Voller has put together an excellent anthology of graveyard poetry.  More titles are likely to be added as we receive additional manuscripts from the professors editing them.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Support independent bookstores!

We're big fans of independent bookstores and are working to get our books available in other places besides Amazon.  We're pleased to announce that a number of our titles are now available from the excellent DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis, MN and Mystery on Main Street in Brattleboro, VT, as well as from the mail-order Ziesings Books in California.

If you'd like to see Valancourt titles at your local independent bookstore, encourage them to contact us. We're offering significant discounts to independent booksellers in order to get our books more widely available.  And, as always, all our titles can be purchased in the US from Amazon or Barnes and Noble's website, and in the UK from Amazon, Foyle's, and other major online bookstores.