Jennings is reprieved after publisher makes rescue bid

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The Independent Culture

Jennings, the fictional schoolboy who gets into trouble by trying to stay out of it, is to get a new lease on life.

Jennings, the fictional schoolboy who gets into trouble by trying to stay out of it, is to get a new lease on life.

Macmillan, the longstanding publishers of the boarding school yarns by Anthony Buckeridge, has decided that it will not reprint the books. But an independent publisher, House of Stratus, has stepped in to rescue the stories, which were first published in 1950.

Macmillan had offered to publish a four-book Jennings omnibus but Mr Buckeridge, who is 88, has decided to accept an offer from Stratus, which hopes to reprint all 24.

Earlier, Mr Buckeridge had lamented the fact that the Just William series was still going strong whereas Jennings (whose catchphrase is "fossilised fishhooks") had been sidelined.

Marion Lloyd, from Macmillan, said: "We love the books but we have not been successful in selling them at a commercial rate. Some children's books make it down the generations and some don't. At Linbury prep school, which Jennings attends, the children are called by their surnames.

"We have given up the books with a very good grace and hope that Jennings will enjoy a new lease on life. We are very sad to say goodbye to him but hope that he will manage to reach lots of new readers."

She said although some people had written in to say they would like to see Jennings reprinted, the number fell far short of the 2,000 needed for a viable reprint. While the visual image of Jennings' rival, William, hero of the Just William series had endured, she suggested, the image of Jennings had changed over the years.

Sasha Morton, information and events manager for the House of Stratus, a new company that prints on demand, said: "We think there is an audience out there and we believe we can attract old readers as well as new ones."

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