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Fifty Fifty

Carcanet's Jubilee in Letters

Edited by Robyn Marsack

Cover of Fifty Fifty edited by Robyn Marsack
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
ISBN: 978 1 784108 78 6
Categories: 21st Century, British, Memoirs
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Published: December 2019
216 x 135 mm
244 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • Description
  • Editor
  • Each of Carcanet’s fifty years is marked by an exchange of letters between an author and the editor. The aim is to reveal a half century’s history of publishing and one small, ambitious press’s contribution, the nature of editing, the author/editor relationship, the conflicts, friendships and vicissitudes that occur at the nexus between the work, its creator, publisher and readers. Beginning in 1969 with the answer to a request to become a subscriber to the Press for £2, the book traces the development of the press as well as individual author/editor relationships. It moves from Pin Farm in Oxfordshire to a house in Cheadle Hulme to an office in the Corn Exchange, central Manchester; from the struggle to survive as an independent to benevolent acquisition by Robert Gavron, the printmagnate; surviving the Manchester bombing in 1996 and the vicissitudes of the book trade in lean years. At its heart is the personal relationship of author and editor/publisher, often beginning with contributions to PN Review. Poets are central, but fiction writers, translators, biographers and critics also contribute to the Carcanet ferment and firmament. Famous writers are not necessarily the best letter-writers, as editor Robyn Marsack discovered in trawling through the Carcanet Archive in the Rylands Library. The letters here are amusing, surprising, contentious, challenging. They were handwritten, typed, and now emailed -- the changing pattern is fascinating to see. This is a rare glimpse into the innerworkings of a small, ambitious press. The book celebrates the writer’s, editor’s and reader’s risks, passions and pleasures.
    Robyn Marsack began her long association with Carcanet Press by editing the first edition of Edmund Blunden’s Selected Poems in 1982, and worked as a publishers’ editor until she became Director of the Scottish Poetry Library 2000–2016. She was a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at the University of Glasgow 2016–2018. ... read more
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