Between the covers: What's really going on in the world of books


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The Independent Culture

There can’t be many novelists who have their bicentenary year celebrated by a relative who is also a famous novelist. So lucky old Anthony Trollope. He will be honoured all this year, including by his fifth-generation niece Joanna.

Trollope Snr was born on 24 April 1815, and The Folio Society will mark the occasion with the first publication of his 1879 novel, The Duke’s Children, in complete, unabridged form. (It was first published in serial form in Charles Dickens’s literary periodical All the Year Round.)

A limited edition print run of 1,980 copies will be half-bound in Indian goatskin with green canvas sides, gold blocking, and a gilded top edge, and Between the Covers is told that they are being hand-marbled, even as we speak, by Jemma Lewis Marbling & Design. Joanna has written a new introduction and she told us: “This is a brilliant portrait of the consequences of being a principled but emotionally repressed Englishman ... and to think Trollope created him at least 20 years before Sigmund Freud changed the psychological landscape for ever!”


A survey last year of nearly 2,500 writers showed the median income of a working author to be just £11,000, down by 29 per cent since 2005. So, no wonder authors were keen to attend a political hustings last week hosted by the Society of Authors and the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society.

In what The Bookseller calls a “lively debate”, talk turned to libraries, which are closing all around us as a result of government funding cuts. The Conservatives’ Ed Vaizey said local authorities “like to blame the government”, but while Labour’s Chris Bryant took him to task, the Lib Dems’ Martin Horwood said his children hardly ever borrow books. It must be nice to have a parent on an MP’s salary, rather than say, an author’s, and be able to simply buy all the books you want.


Congratulations to the Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy director and Hobbit screenwriter Guillermo del Toro, who has just sold the UK and Commonwealth rights to his first children’s novel. Trollhunters, about trolls of the traditional, foll-deroll variety, is set in a Californian town where children are going missing ... It will be published by Hot Key Books in June.