LONDON BOOKS is an independent publisher which aims to bring old and new fiction together in a tradition that is original in its subject matter, style and social concerns. We believe that the marginalised fiction of the past can be as relevant and exciting today as when it was first published, and our classic reprints will reflect the language and politics of tougher eras, while our new fiction will focus on emerging authors with something to say and a novel way of getting their messages across.
With the recent fashion in simulating pre-WWII novels, the 1930s are generally regarded as the Golden Age of British crime fiction. This is the era of Christie and Sayers, crooked goings on at the manor with the gentleman thief and the generously moustachioed detective in hot pursuit.
Ten best talks & festivals
The novelist is joined by Paul Willetts, the biographer of Julian Maclaren-Ross, for an exploration of two of the lesser-known chroniclers of London life: James Curtis and Robert Westerby. UCL, London WC1
16 May 2009
Literatura de las aceras
En vísperas de Sant Jordi, un repaso por la literatura proletaria y marginal estadounidense, británica y española....
Night and the City by Gerald Kersh
Kersh's London classic proves that an English author could write crime fiction in the 1930s every bit as hard-boiled as his Amercian contemporaries – and without having to do a Raymond Chandler and hop across the Atlantic. Small-time Soho con and pimp Harry Fabian faces two problems. First, the police are cleaning up the streets in preparation for the coronation of George VI and Harry is in their sights. Second, he needs money, about £100 - not a huge sum, even in the 1930s, but enough to drag him ever deeoer into the seedy underworld of the capital's clip joints, jazz clubs and all-night cafés. A shocking read from a much-neglected writer.
The Guardian Review
Andrew McCallum, London.
The Gilt Kid
James Curtis is new to me, but he seems
to have been been quite a success in the short period between the wars before fading almost completely from view. He died in 1977, having produced nothing for years. London have provided plenty of background in the introduction and notes...
London Books is a new publishing company bringing forgotten London literature back into print. Authors John
King and Martin Knight launched the project last year with two smartly
Trucks, tarts and tea leaves.
With financial pundits drawing inevitable parallels between the economic meltdown of today and the depression of the 1930s, the arrival of They Drive by Night by James Curtis is particuarly timely...
Stories from the City and tales from the underground
JAMES Curtis was a figure known in the pubs along Kilburn High Road, always happy to pass the time of day over a pint, and earning a living as a school caretaker.
But few who raised a pint with him
Resurrecting a lost era of working-class fiction Readers of books blogs past will have seen plenty of material on the joys of mugging up on forgotten authors and of sharing your favourite undiscovered books.
As Billy Mills pointed out, such activity is full of obscure pleasure.
The start of Alan Sillitoe
How Sillitoe stood apart from the tradition of Northern novelists going soft and successful in the South
The Times Literary Supplement
1st October 2008 MORE >>
Man in a Macintosh
For more than 30 years, Iain SInclair has been on the trail of Roland Camberton, the great invisible of English fiction, who wrote two highly praised London novels in the 1950s, and then vanished. When a clue recently dropped on his doorstep, he was finally on his way to solving the mystery
Peter Owen has Sillitoe biography Peter Owen is to publish Professor Richard Bradford's authorised biography of Alan Sillitoe. The Life of a Long-Distance Writer (£25, hardback) will be released in September, to coincide with the author's eightieth birthday and with the fortieth anniversary re-publication of his classic Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by HarperCollins. Sillitoe, whose novel A Start in Life was reissued earlier this year by London Books, was recently voted among the top 50 most important English writers in a survey by The Times.
24 June 2008
Night & Day by Gerald Kersh
with an introduction by John King
March saw the sad passing of both Richard Widmark and Jules Dassin, lead actor and director respectively of the cult film noir, Night and The City. The groundbreaking novel (which Jules Dassin admittted he never read till after the film was made!) is now re-published by London Books.
One of the greatest of the London lowlife novels, Night And The City is the work of a tough, street-wise character who was also a prolific author, his powers of description matched by his insights into human nature. Gerald Kersh was a familiar face in thirties Soho and then a deserter in the Second World War - post-war he was a writer beloved by peers such as Anthony Burgess but hounded by creditors who tracked him to various abodes in New York State.
One of his few satisfying moments was the sale of the film rights to Night and the City - it was actually filmed twice, once in 1950 with Widmark and again in the 1990s starring Robert De Niro and Jessica Lange. But this fine book doubles as a social document, capturing the colour and excitement of a vanished London. In his new introduction John King, author of The Football Factory conveys the mystique and allure of this seminal British author, whose works will continue to be published by London Books.
01 May 2008
Fame and Fortune: Alan Sillitoe
The author, poet and one-time Angry Young Man says his work should matter more than the cash
First released in 1936 and given a special reprint by London Books, The Gilt Kid follows the adventures of a young burglar fresh out of prison. MORE >>
Crime fiction has had a great year, despite some sad loses. MORE >>
The novelist James Curtis has been missing for more than 50 years. His success, which burned brightly but rapidly, came in a meteoric burst in the mid-1930s MORE >>
I welcomed the reissue, with new introductions, of two clasics of London lowlife MORE >>
I've read a lot of crime novels over the years but never before one in which an explanation of Marx's Labour Theory of Value is attempted on one page. MORE >>
'Night and the City' is one of the best 'Soho novels', but its author Gerald Kersh is a forgotten figure. John O'Connell wonders why... MORE >>
Authors John King and Martin Knight are launching London Books, a new independent specialising primarily in "gritty and realist" fiction set in London, much of which has been out of print for years.... MORE >>
From the opening scene it grabs you. You feel yourself being dragged through a thicket of urban undergrowth. Night and the City by Gerald Kersh lurches from comedy to menace, vivid description to rapid-fire dialogue... MORE >>