Author Letters

A few weeks ago I had read and retweeted an article from the guardian about someone who had collected many copies of JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. I have a sister who collects editions of Alice in Wonderland, and wondered if there were other authors out there people collect. A Vic Books friend tweeted back saying they collects Noel Streafeild books.

I was discussing this with our GM Juliet, who said she had a signed author letter from Noel Streatfeild. And another from Lois Lowry.

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She brought the letters in the other day, and it was such a treat to read over them. You can tell that for these authors, writing back to their young fans was an important part of being an author.

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Noel Streatfeild’s letter begins by telling Juliet that she has written 60 books in totals, and instructs her to visit her library and ask in the reference section for a copy of ‘whos who’ and she could find a list of all the books she had written. And, needless to say, she did as she was told, and still has the clipping of all her books, kept safely along with the letter.

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She goes on to confess that she lives in a nursing home and has to get someone to write the letters for her. She promises to try to write her own signature, but notes ‘I am afraid my signature is not very good these days’. She would have been 88 at this stage, so she’s doing pretty well in my opinion.

As a kid, I might have thought about writing to Jacqueline Wilson, or A.A. Milne, but with the dawning digital age changing my childhood,  I never really entertained the ideas for long. Maybe because I wasn’t interested, but probably because I didn’t know what to say to them, or didn’t think it would ever get to them (a post skeptic from way back), or that they would never write back. Reading over these letters, and seeing how kind these authors were in their letters, I regret not giving it a try.

  • By Jayne Mulligan
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