Thursday, 21 April 2011

Looking ahead

The Allotment: its landscape and culture by David Crouch and Colin Ward was Five Leaves' first publication (though initially under the label of Mushroom Bookshop). Fifteen years, a second edition and a number of reprints later the book is still in print, but it is about time someone else wrote a new good social history of allotments. At one time Five Leaves was the world's biggest publisher of books on allotments, becoming so when we brought out a second allotment book. Eventually we published five, all of which sold well (probably the only books that made us money!) but only this one remains. I'm pleased to say that we've just signed up Lesley Acton to write a new social history of allotments, and it should be thumping onto our doormat/into our in box in 2012. Lesley will concentrate on the twentieth century and is working on some fascinating detail of employment/class among allotment holders in the first half of the century. Any booksellers wondering where they have come across that name before might remember her books on ceramics with A & C Black and Crowood.

2012 will also see a vast increase in our jazz list, from, um, one to three titles. Peter Vacher, who shares the Guardian jazz obits with John Fordham, and who writes for many jazz mags, is pulling together his interviews of American jazz players under the title Mixed Messages, a companion volume to one publisher earlier by our friends at Northway, currently getting good publicity for their Peter King autobiog. And Chris Searle is going through his fantastic 750 jazz reviews in the Morning Star to select 100 of the best to come out at the same time. Chris sends his weekly copy to the Star handwritten. Just as long as he doesn't try that on us! Chris's earlier jazz book was also published by Northway.

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