The Lit Review |91| Bloomsbury’s Unwanted Gift


John Montague passed away on Saturday after complications arising from a recent surgery. Montague was born in Brooklyn, but was raised a Catholic in Tyrone. Montague was a prolific poet known for his harmonious style, based in the rhythms of living speech. For many years, his work was featured on the Leaving Certificate syllabus and in 1998 he became the first Chair of Irish poetry.

Sara Baume’s debut novel Spill Simmer Falter Wither as been awarded the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. The award is the third major honour for Baume’s publisher, Tramp Press, in the past year after Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones won both the The Goldsmith Prize and the Bord Gais Book of the Year. Baume is also the third Irish author to win the award after Eimear McBride in 2013 and Belinda McKeon in 2011. The prize is worth £1,500 and is awarded to authors under forty.

Baume’s next novel will be co-published next February by Tramp Press and William Heinneman. Tramp Press also recently launched the third title in their Recovered Voices series. The series seeks to rediscover overlooked literary talent. The current instalment is Oranges Horses by Maeve Kelly, which was originally published in 1990 by Blackstaff Press. So far, Tramp Press have also published A Struggle for Fame by Charlotte Riddell and The Uninvited by Dorothy McCardle.


Have you ever come downstairs on Boxing Day to find a suspiciously familiar, rewrapped present hastily shoved back under the tree before the more distant relatives arrive?

A bejewelled, handwritten edition of The Beedle and the Bard (a book of fairytales upon which the plot of the final Harry Potter book hinges) has sold for £368,750 at auction. The book was originally a gift from JK Rowling to her published. Rowling originally made seven copies, six of which were gifted to those closely involved in Harry Potter. The seventh was sold at auction to raise money for the authors charity Lumos, raising £1.9m.

The copy in question was gifted to Barry Cunningham who first published Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone while working at Bloomsbury. Cunningham originally advised Rowling that the she could not expect to make a meaningful return on the book. Cunningham now runs the dedicated children’s publishing house Chicken House.

The cover bears the inscription “To Barry, the man who thought an overlong novel about a boy wizard in glasses might just sell … THANK YOU.” The stones on the cover are rhodochrosite, traditionally associated with traditionally associated with love, balance and joy in daily life.

Featured Image Source.