The Book of Forgotten Authors
By Christopher Fowler
99 forgotten authors, their forgotten books, and their unforgettable stories
A 2017 GUARDIAN BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
'Joyous . . . Readers will love this fascinating book' Cathy Rentzenbrink
'A godsend with the present season approaching' Irish Independent
'The perfect gift for a book-obsessed friend' Stylist, 50 Unmissable Books for Autumn 2017
Absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you're dead.
So begins Christopher Fowler's foray into the back catalogues and backstories of 99 authors who, once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from our shelves.
Whether male or female, domestic or international, flash-in-the-pan or prolific, mega-seller or prize-winner - no author, it seems, can ever be fully immune from the fate of being forgotten. And Fowler, as well as remembering their careers, lifts the lid on their lives, and why they often stopped writing or disappeared from the public eye.
These 99 journeys are punctuated by 12 short essays about faded once-favourites: including the now-vanished novels Walt Disney brought to the screen, the contemporary rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie who did not stand the test of time, and the women who introduced us to psychological suspense many decades before it conquered the world.
This is a book about books and their authors. It is for book lovers, and is written by one who could not be a more enthusiastic, enlightening and entertaining guide.
'A bibliophile's dream' Financial Times
'Excellent . . . Should be read by anyone who loves books' Evening Standard
'Will have readers scurrying into secondhand bookshops' Guardian
100. A typical example of the late 20th century midlist author, Christopher Fowler was born in the less attractive part of Greenwich in 1953, the son of a scientist and a legal secretary. He went to a London Guild school, Colfe's, where, avoiding rugby by hiding in the school library, he was able to begin plagiarising in earnest. He published his first novel, Roofworld, described as 'unclassifiable', while working as an advertising copywriter. He left to form The Creative Partnership, a company that changed the face of film marketing, and spent many years working in film, creating movie posters, tag lines, trailers and documentaries, using his friendship with Jude Law to get into nightclubs.
During this time Fowler achieved several pathetic schoolboy fantasies, releasing an appalling Christmas pop single, becoming a male model, posing as the villain in a Batman comic, creating a stage show, writing rubbish in Hollywood, running a night club, appearing in the Pan Books of Horror and standing in for James Bond.
Now the author of over forty novels and short story collections, including his award-winning memoir Paperboy and its sequel Film Freak, he writes the Bryant & May mystery novels, recording the adventures of two Golden Age detectives in modern-day London.
In 2015 he won the CWA Dagger In The Library award for his detective series, once described by his former publisher as 'unsaleable'.
Fowler is still alive and one day plans to realise his ambition to become a Forgotten Author himself.
- Other details
- Publication date:
05 Oct 2017
- Page count:
Well researched and wide-ranging . . . The Book of Forgotten Authors is a bibliophile's treat written with verve and passion. It will have readers scurrying into secondhand bookshops in search of yellowing paperbacks. — Guardian
Full of humour and pathos, Christopher Fowler's survey of authors who have fallen into obscurity is a bibliophile's dream. — Financial Times
A real gem, filled with old favourites and new discoveries, and written in a light, snappy, erudite tone, as satisfying as a full English breakfast at your local art-house cafe. — Joanne Harris
A sure-fire Christmas gift . . . charged with an irresistible passion for the world of the book. — Telegraph
A joyous saunter through the lives and words of yesterday's big names. Readers will love this fascinating book. — Cathy Rentzenbrink
A treasure trove of trivia . . . Excellent . . . This colourful compendium of literary lives should be read by anyone who loves books. — Evening Standard
Christopher Fowler's cherishable book is as quirky and mesmerising as one of his novels; his detailed, loving excavation of a slew of unjustly neglected writers will have the inevitable effect of sending readers in search of these intriguing lost names. — Barry Forshaw
The perfect guide to finding your next reading obsession . . . the perfect gift for a book-obsessed friend or if you simply want to uncover a hidden gem. — Stylist, 50 unmissable books for autumn 2017
His services to rescuing other writers from oblivion deserve a medal . . . Splendid . . . He has a wonderful talent, actually rather rare among critics, for conveying just what it is about a book that makes it worth reading. — Jake Kerridge, Sunday Express
A godsend with the present season approaching . . . it's hard to believe that anyone who loves fiction of all genres wouldn't be completely won over by this treasure-filled book about books. — Irish Independent
A sheer joy. This is a lovely but dangerous book as I've already added some new names to my wants list. — Sarra Manning, Red Magazine
He reevaluates the reputations of dozens of lost authors with a sharp eye for detail and a dry, mordant wit. He makes you want to rush to your nearest secondhand bookshop and start digging out some of these forgotten authors. — Andrew Wilson
If you've forgotten the voice of your generation, the brilliant Christopher Fowler's The Book of Forgotten Authors will provide you with the necessary reminder. — Spectator
Full of delights and surprises and will have you hunting down lost masterpieces . . . Totally absorbing. — Sunday Sport
An enjoyable paperchase after novelists, playwrights and poets who were once much read. Fowler's Forgotten Authors is a book packed with vignettes, amusements and new names to try. — Sunday Times
Discover brilliant-but-long-lost writers with this pocket-sized delight. — Emerald Street
Check out your local library or second-hand bookshop and you'll find that these are some of the best storytellers you've never heard of. — Irish Times
Glorious . . . A real treat. — Bookbag
Christopher fowler has done us a great service . . . reading about the lives and works of these authors - many madly eccentric - is a joy. Fowler has put in an awesome amount of research and clearly could have created a compelling list that was twice as long. — Scotsman
This considered foray into the backlists and backstories of 99 forgotten authors reminds us of how focused we are on the new and the novel. It's fascinating to ponder which of these writers will remain forever in aspic and which might one day be ripe for revival. — The Bookseller
A godsend for book lovers if you want to make new discoveries, explore the fertile past and have a yearning for quality and quirk. A wonderful book to dip into and to send you scurrying to the nearest second-hand shelf or internet search machine . . . Hours of fun lie ahead. — Maxim Jakubowski, Crimetime