Novella News

Magda, my own first novella, will be launched this week. The book is published by Salt on April 1st. My author’s website is up and running with aMistress, maid&laptop. Image byMike Licht, beautiful cinematic introduction by Pete Gloria. I will be interviewed on Woman’s Hour on Tuesday and on Friday we will celebrate with a launch party.

I am excited, I have to admit, and can’t wait to take Magda on the road. Indeed, last Wednesday was my first outing as a publisher and author. I talked about the art of novella, Peirene and Magda. And sold the first five copies of my own book.

But the most exciting news: the Nymph is thrilled too. Peirene has been a pillar of support. She insisted I book a hairdresser’s appointment for the party and has suggested that I take Wednesday off to look for a new dress.

After finding a publisher for Magda, I initially worried about Peirene’s reaction. Would she throw jealous tantrums? I even briefly contemplated using a pen name so I could hide my double life.

Well, I would have certainly deprived her of a lot of fun. Over the last few days, every now and again, she has stood up from her chair, waving her arms theatrically in the air and proclaiming: ‘Ladies & Gentlemen, please meet Madam and Mademoiselle ‘Novella’ – they publish novellas, they write novellas, they live and breath novellas.’

‘They?’ I raise an eyebrow.

‘Yes. You and I. We. After all, we are in it together.’ She smiles at me and throws me a hand kiss.

She is right. I owe a debt to my Nymph and her authors. Veronique Olmi for her courageous portrayal of a mother-child relationship. Friedrich Christian Delius for handling the familiar subject of Nazism with empathy and from a new angle; and any number of Peirene authors for teaching me the power of compression and strong voices.

‘By the way, I hope you also show your gratitude to your publisher.’ The Nymph has sat down again and now looks at me with a serious expression. ‘They’ve done a brilliant job with it and rolled out some stellar PR.’

‘I do hope I have. After all I know what it feels like to be a publisher who tries her best.’

‘Good. I am pleased to hear that.’ Then she smiles slyly, ‘Because, let’s face it: Without Salt, Magda would have vanished, like your other three novellas, into the bottom drawer of your clothes cupboard.’

Image: Vermeer’s ‘Mistress and Maid’ by

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