New and forthcoming

The Life of Stuff

Susannah Walker

Until her mother died, Susannah Walker had no idea how much of a hoarder she had become. In the months following the death, Susannah had to sort through a dilapidated house filled to the brim with rubbish and treasures, in search of a woman she'd never really known. Her hope was to piece together her mother's life and discover her reasons for hoarding, in her last chance to understand their troubled relationship. What emerged from the mess of scattered papers, discarded photographs and an extraordinary amount of stuff was the history of a sad and fractured family, haunted by dead children, divorces and alcohol.

The Life of Stuff is a moving memoir about mourning and the shoring up of possessions against the losses and griefs of life, a deeply personal story that raises universal questions about what makes us who we are. What do our possessions say about us? Why do we project such meaning on to them? And what cruel twist turns someone who simply enjoys having objects around them into the kind of person who hoards compulsively, ending their days in abject squalor?

Modern Nature

Derek Jarman

Derek Jarman's garden at Dungeness draws thousands of visitors every year. It is a weird and windswept place, a small garden beside a humble cottage. But between the pebbles of the beach Jarman grew all manner of plants – some were burnt by wind and sea-spray, whilst others flourished creating brilliant, unexpected beauty in the wilderness. A filmmaker, writer and icon of his day, Jarman explores through this exquisite diary of his garden the nature of art, politics, life and death.

My Dear Bessie: A Love Story in Letters

Chris Barker (and others)

Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey read a love story in letters, played out against the backdrop of the Second World War.

A small blue box opened in 2008 revealed a wartime world of love, longing and frustration.

On September 5th 1943, Chris Barker, a Signalman stationed near Tobruk in North Africa, decided to write to a former work colleague, Bessie Moore, a Morse code interpreter at the Foreign Office back in London. The unexpected warmth of Bessie's reply changed their lives forever.

Chris and Bessie's love letters first appeared in Simon Garfield's book To The Letter. They have toured literary festivals as part of Letters Live before being published in a book, My Dear Bessie.

Duration: 45 mins

The Collected Works

Anne Frank

Anne Frank's collected works contains all three versions of her famous diary, the stories and essays that Anne Frank wrote while hidden away in the secret annexe as well as all of her known letters, her collection of pleasing phrases from her favourite books, autograph album entries, a family tree and select bibliography.

The definitive guide to Anne Frank's work, The Collected Works includes fascinating introductions to Anne Frank's life and family history, as well as commentaries on the historical context of the diary and its enduring legacy worldwide.

Make Someone Happy and Find Your Own Happiness Along the Way

Emily Coxhead

When we are kind we feel happy and this inspiring journal will help you to do just that: every page focuses on the bright spots we overlook every day and will encourage you to pass these simple joys on to others. With infectious charm and delightful illustrations, Make Someone Happy will help you to discover your true sense of happiness by brightening the world around you:

- Find a good news story from this week and share it
- Fill a box with treats and positive notes and send it to a good friend
- Leave an encouraging note for a stranger to find
- Think of the kindest thing someone has done for you – how can you return the favour?

Make Someone Happy is a reminder that together we can make the world a kinder, happier place, one good deed at a time.

In the Land of Pain

Alphonse Daudet

Alphonse Daudet was a highly popular nineteenth-century French novelist, whose work radiated humour and good cheer. Few knew that for his entire adult life he suffered from syphilis, a disease both unmentionable and incurable at the time. What even fewer realised was that he kept an intimate notebook in which he recorded the development and terrifying effects of the disease. Describing a life in pain, and the sometimes alarming treatments he underwent, Daudet's journal is unique for its comic zest, lucid self-examination and stoicism.

Translated by the Booker Prize-winning writer Julian Barnes.

Diary of an Ordinary Schoolgirl

Margaret Forster

23 February
Results rolling in! Algebra, 6th = 74%. Not bad. Latin = 55% Thrilled! History top = 85% smashing! Geography, disgusting, 2nd = 67%.

In 1954 in Carlisle lived an ordinary 15-year-old schoolgirl called Margaret. She would go on to become an acclaimed writer, the author of the novels Georgy Girl and Diary of an Ordinary Woman as well as biographies and memoirs. But this is her diary from that year; her life. Hers might be a lost world, but her daily observations bring it back in vivid, irresistible detail.

7 May
Wonderful feat accomplished yesterday by Roger Bannister! At last, the 4 minute mile. Glad an Englishman got it before anyone else.

24 July
Bought a pair of shorts – white, very short with two pockets. Super but rather daring!

2 September
Mum’s coming back on Saturday. Miss her every minute! I'll never marry and have a family -- housekeeping for two for a week is bad enough -- but for life!

Carrington's Letters

Dora Carrington (and others)

‘Your letters are a great pleasure. I lap them down with breakfast and they do me more good than tonics, blood capsules or iron jelloids’ Lytton Strachey

Dora Carrington was considered an outsider to Bloomsbury, but she lived right at its heart. Known only by her surname, she was the star of her year at the Slade School of Fine Art, but never achieved the fame her early career promised. For over a decade she was the companion of homosexual writer Lytton Strachey, and killed herself, stricken without him, when he died in 1932. She was also a prolific and exuberant correspondent.

Carrington was not consciously a pioneer or a feminist, but in her determination to live life according to her own nature – especially in relation to her work, her passionate friendships and her fluid attitude to sex, gender and sexuality – she fought battles that remain familiar and urgent today. She was friends with the greatest minds of the day and her correspondence stars a roster of fascinating characters – Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Rosamund Lehmann, Maynard Keynes to name but a few.

Carrington’s Letters introduces the maverick artist and compelling personality to a new generation for the first time with fresh correspondence never before published. Unmediated, passionate, startlingly honest and very playful, reading Carrington’s letters is like having her whisper in your ear and embrace you gleefully.

The Journal of a Disappointed Man

W. N. P. Barbellion

The young naturalist W. N. P. Barbellion described this remarkably candid record of living with multiple sclerosis as 'a study in the nude'. It begins as an ambitious teenager's notes on the natural world, and then, following his diagnosis at the age of twenty-six, transforms into a deeply moving account of battling the disease. His prose is full of humour and fierce intelligence, and combines a passion for life with clear-sighted reflections on the nature of death.

Barbellion selected and edited this manuscript himself in 1917, adding a fictional editor's note announcing his own demise. This Penguin Classics edition includes 'The Last Diary', which covers the period between submission of the manuscript and Barbellion's actual death in 1919.

Moon Journal

Sandy Sitron

From soulful self-reflection to boisterous jubilation, harness the changing energies of the moon and start living the life you’ve always wanted. This journal will show you how.

A beautiful hardback, complete with a pearlescent foil finish and ribbon marker, offering daily, weekly and monthly astrological guidance, affirmations, rituals and journal excercises alongside space to record your journey of self-discovery. Adapt your lifestyle to the phases of the moon and align yourself with the universe to live your life to the full every day.

Darling Pol

Mary Wesley (and others)

Published here for the first time, this remarkable cache of letters reveals the great love story of Mary Wesley's life.

‘They met by chance in the Palm Court of the Ritz Hotel on the evening of 26 October 1944. By the time she eventually caught the train back to Penzance two days later they had fallen in love and Eric had declared that he was determined to marry her…’

Before her death in 2002, Mary Wesley told her biographer Patrick Marnham: ‘after I met Eric I never looked at anyone else again. We lived our ups and downs but life was never boring.’ Eric Siepmann was her second husband and their correspondence – lively, intimate, passionate, frustrated – charted their life together (and apart) with unusual candour and spirit.

Marnham suggests that through these letters Mary, who famously blossomed as a novelist in her seventies, a decade after Eric's death, found her voice. Bequeathed to Marnham in two size-5 shoeboxes, this is one of the great surviving post-war correspondences.

‘With you I can become the person I really am – and bearing the grave in mind be buried as such. Dear love consider yourself kissed’
Mary, 30 October 1944

‘I find you brave and amusing, understanding and beautiful, simple and sophisticated, and I love you. More than that, I mean to get you’
Eric, 5 December 1944

I’m Sure I Speak For Many Others…

Colin Shindler

'Dear Mr. Adam, I am writing on behalf of the Central Watch and Social Problems Committee of the Mothers’ Union to ask whether you have a programme in mind on the moral issue of venereal disease.'

'Sir, Where are the B.B.C’s censors? We do not care for the language that was inflicted on us Tuesday night in “The Battle of Britain”. Don’t retort, ‘You need not listen if you don’t want to’. We did not know it was coming.'

'Dear Mr. Frost, Let me start by saying how much I enjoy your programme & that I was among those many who felt almost that they had lost a blowsy old friend when dear & vulgar, but nonetheless thought-provoking and funny TW3 went off the air.'

For anyone who regularly feels tempted to put pen to paper, I’m Sure I Speak For Many Others is an alternative history of the BBC, from its triumphant broadcast of the coronation in 1953, to that Tynan moment, the controversial That Was The Week That Was, and the groundbreaking Grange Hill.

Stretching across over forty years of programming, these never before seen letters represent the joy, the fury and the wit of the nation.