Is there a story that you would wish to pass on to the next generation, and would yourself happily read again now?
Following on from our much-loved limited-edition hardbacks of favourites such as Excellent Women, Valley of the Dolls, The Enchanted April and The Dud Avocado, we're very excited to have created a unique new set of hardbacks – six modern classic coming-of-age stories, for adult and young adult readers alike, with stunning interconnecting artwork by New York illustrator Mira Nameth. We hope that these beautiful, special books will be collected, enjoyed, cherished and pressed into the hands of other readers, whatever their age. Each has been selected for its striking depiction of a time, a place and a young woman on the cusp of adulthood.
Invitation to the Waltz and My Brilliant Career are perennial, much-loved Virago Modern Classics. Slammerkin, Tipping the Velvet and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings are proudly published by Virago Press and, amazingly, it’s the first time the latter two have been available in hardback in this country. And with the little gem that is The River, we’re thrilled to launch our publishing of Rumer Godden, a new addition to the Virago Modern Classics.
If you have read and loved one or more of these novels in the past and would like to tell us and other readers why, when or where you enjoyed them, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Or indeed, if you have another favourite coming-of-age classic, from Virago or any other publisher, share that with us too. We always love to hear your comments and suggestions. Visit our facebook and twitter pages. Leave us a comment below or simply email us at email@example.com
The six titles, publishing in August, are:
Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue
Mary, daughter of a poor seamstress, longs for fine clothes as her neighbours hunger for food and warmth. For the love of a gorgeous red ribbon, she is seduced into a life on the cold, murky streets of late 1700s London.
Invitation to the Waltz by Rosamond Lehmann
On her seventeenth birthday, Olivia Curtis receives: a diary for her innermost thoughts, a ten-shilling note and a roll of flame-coloured silk for her first ballgown. For her pretty sister Kate, the dance is sure to be a triumph, but what will it be for shy, awkward Olivia?
My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin
Trapped on her parents' farm in the hardscrabble Australian outback, Sybylla Melvyn longs for a refined lifestyle, but most of all she longs to achieve great things. Soon she finds herself choosing between the conventional path and her plans for a 'brilliant career'.
Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
A multi-layered historical romance set in the 'roaring' 1890s, Sarah Waters’ bestselling debut novel follows the glittering career of Nan King from Whitstable oyster-girl to star of the music hall to cross-dressing rentboy to East End 'tom'.
The River by Rumer Godden
Harriet is caught between two worlds, and the comforting rhythm of her Indian childhood – the sounds of the jute factory, the colourful festivals and the eternal ebb and flow of the river on its journey to the Bay of Bengal – is about to be shattered by a tragic event.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
In the celebrated first volume of her autobiography, Maya Angelou evokes her childhood in the American South of the 1930s. As a black woman, Maya Angelou has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope and joy, celebration and achievement.
Here's a selection of keyword-matched articles that you might also find interesting:
- Maya Angelou receives Presidential Medal of Freedom
- June's Inspiration: Natasha Walter Recommends Rosamond Lehmann
- Read (or Listen to) the Title Story of Daphne du Maurier's Controversial Early Collection
- November Inspiration: Anna May Mangan on Miles Franklin
- Rumer Godden, author of BLACK NARCISSUS, to be published in the Virago Modern Classics