A few years ago, when I noticed that the centenary of one of my very favourite underappreciated lady authors was approaching, I hit upon the idea of throwing a party on that day. I did, and it worked beautifully. There were invitations, lots of guests took the trouble to find a book and post about it on the day, and I wrote a thank you letter to them all afterwards.
I always intended to celebrate more birthdays of favourite authors in the same way, but it never quite happened.
I couldn’t find the dates of birth of come of the authors I wanted. That ruled out Barbara Comyns, March Cost and Frances Vernon.
I found that the dates I could find didn’t spread out nicely over the year. February and December were terrible congested! Margery Sharp and Virginia Woolf shared a birthday!
And there was a certain amount of work involved. It wasn’t that didn’t love doing it – I did – but I was aware that it was absorbing time that I could have spent reading, and I was a little worried that I might be pushing others to read my particular favourites a little too much.
The idea drifted, but it never quite went away …
I decided that I would try to put together a birthday book to celebrate a number of my favourite authors over the course of the year. I looked at the authors whose books I had and really wanted to read or re-read, I did some searching; and I had to make some hard decisions, and accept that I couldn’t include every author deserving of a place, but I got there in the end.
* * * * * * *
A Birthday Book of Underappreciated Lady Authors
25th January – Margery Sharp
17th February – Dorothy Canfield Fisher
26th February – Dorothy Whipple
21st March – E H Young
23rd April – Margaret Kennedy
10th May – Monica Dickens
9th June – E M Delafield
17th June – G B Stern
3rd July – Elizabeth Taylor
23rd July – Elspeth Huxley
31st August – Elizabeth Von Arnim
17th September – Mary Stewart
18th October – Helen Ashton
10th November – Patricia Wentworth
10th December – Rumer Godden
21st December – Rebecca West
* * * * * * *
I know that some of my authors are less underappreciated than others, but all of them are authors who have written books that I love; and I want to read more of their work and I know that there are more people who would love them too, if only they knew that their books were out there.
I think that they all have books in print, and I’m sure used copies of titles by each and every author out there at reasonable prices.
It would be lovely to have company if you’ve spotted an author you love too, or an author you’ve heard good things about and wanted to read.
Just know that this is going to be quiet. I’ll just put a note in the sidebar to say whose day is next and post on that day.
And that there will be other posts about these authors and their books throughout the year, because putting this thing together has had me thinking of so many books that I really don’t want to wait to read …