Friday, 14 May 2010

Helen Simpson

Posy Simmonds illustration of Helen Simpson's The Festival of the Immortals (The Guardian)

Latest Waterstones irritation: buying a copy of Helen Simpson's new collection of short stories In-flight Entertainment and the assistant telling me that because I'd spent over £10.00 I was entitled to a half-price copy of a new chicklit type novel which he held up for my perusal. I told him I've nothing against superior chick-lit (loved The Nanny Diaries) but I'd rather choose a title myself or why not a half-price Jane Austen novel? Sadly he declined.

A new book from Helen Simpson is always a delight and this collection contains a wonderful story called The Festival of the Immortals where long-dead writers attend a modern literary festival. Charlotte Bronte is booked to read extracts from Villette and two women queueing for the tea tent are anticipating what she will be like. This story was published in The Guardian with a delicious illustration by Posy Simmonds and you can read it here.

I Prefer Reading has an excellent post on Helen Simpson. I'm off to finish the Emily Dickinson biography which is the best book I've read this year.

8 comments:

frisbeebookjournal said...

I've never heard of Helen Simpson. I wonder if she's published in the U.S.

Off to check it out!

Cornflower said...

You've just reminded me that I do want to read the Emily Dickinson book!

Mrs. B. said...

I've never heard of Simpson but The Festival of the Immortals sounds like a story I'd love to read. Lovely illustration!

Hannah Stoneham said...

I like the illustration!

Mae said...

Oh, to hear Charlotte Bronte (or all the Bronte sisters, in fact) reading at a lit festival would be like heaven! The illustration is hilarious! A starbucks cup would also fit in nicely there.

Too bad the half price discount didn't include classics but I guess the publisher wanted to make sure the book sold...

A Bookish Space said...

I've never heard of HS, but The Festival of the Immortals is a raher inspired short story. Imagine being able to hear talks from sadly departed, beloved authors!

Vintage Reading said...

frisbee, hi, yes Simpson is published in America, but they change all the titles.

Cornflower, I'll look out for your review, Karen.

Mrs B and Hannah, I love Posy Simmonds drawings. I think she has published graphic novels, too.

Mae, I wonder if they had Victorian literary festivals or Regency festivals - to hear Jane Austen would be something!

A Bookish Space, Simspon has inspired ideas for her stories. There's one about a Christmas fairy you order online which is pretty fab, too.

lyn said...

Thank you for linking to my blog. HS is one of my real discoveries this year. Imagine me reading an author who's still alive! Doesn't happen very often... That is a terrific picture btw.