#SPgiveaway – Souvenir Press Celebrates World Book Day 2015

As we all know, it was World Book Day yesterday, and to live up to our independent name, we decided to do something a little bit different…

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Lucky visitors to SP HQ were treated to free books of their own choice in our World Book Day giveaway on Thursday.

Our marketing team, Amy and Claire, curated the list of books from a variety of different genres, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

A wide range of readers expressed their pleasure in receiving a book gift, either for themselves or their family. See below for some of the lucky readers!

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Marco, Roberta and Thomas chose Cecil Aldin’s Puppy Dogs’ Tales for Marco’s daughter.

Jay

Jay opted for Sol Yurick’s The Warriors, after recognising the title from the 1979 cult movie.

Mike

Mike chose Jess Thom’s Welcome to Biscuitland for his teenage daughter.

Luca

As a visitor to the UK, Luca chose cartoonist Rupert Besley’s Terribly English.

See the full list of recipents on our Pinterest page

And Happy World Book Day!

Address Unknown voted Best Book In The World!

According to the annual Barnie Balloon Debate!

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Held in the Foyle’s gallery in Christmas week in front of a packed house, singer Barb Jungr put the case for Souvenir Press’ Address Unknown by Kressman Taylor, beating economist Evan Davis advocating for Sellar and Yeatman’s 1066 and All That, architectural critic and writer Jonathon Glancey who proposed Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, and chief executive of Arts & Business, Colin Tweedy’s choice of Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation among others.

Made up entirely of letters, the New York Times Book Review declared Address Unknown “the most effective indictment of Nazism to appear in fiction.”

Published  just prior to Kristallnacht, but set in the years between 1932-1934, Taylor developed the story of a friendship between two businessmen: a Jewish art dealer in San Francisco and his German business partner who had recently moved back to Germany.

Letter by letter, Address Unknown reveals the insidious rise of Nazism, (“I have never hated the individual Jew . . . I have loved you, not because of your race but in spite of it,”) as it permeates then destroys their friendship, leading to brilliant and breathtaking  twist. 

The Foyle’s audience voted it the Best Book in the World. Why not see if they were right?

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Address Unknown at the Soho Theatre: What the Papers Say

If you are a regular reader of our Take Home a Souvenir blog, no doubt you will have seen last month’s blog post about Address Unknown, the book by Katherine Kressmann Taylor, now taken to the stage at the Soho Theatre. With performances in French and English (though the French performances have now finished their run), this fascinating play is garnering rave reviews from all sections of the press.

Take a look at the round up of reviews for Address Unknown at the Soho Theatre:

“Address Unknown is a poignant story of broken friendship that deals in high tragedy while refusing to slip into melodrama. … Steve Marmion’s production effectively emphasises the frustrating sense of helplessness that comes from the distance between the characters, with snippets of broadcasts and radio static adding to the mounting tension.” – Evening Standard, 4 stars.

“A shockingly potent story that is well worth hearing, and one that reminds how easily politics, prejudice and circumstance destroy lives.” – The Guardian, 3 stars.

“An absorbing hour that offers a vivid depiction of how a sense of betrayal can lead to desperate measures.” – The Times, 3 stars.

“A must see.” – One Stop Arts, 4 stars.

“A stunning play … It’s a powerful piece, well staged and well acted … Essential viewing for our modern times.” – The Gay UK, 4 stars.

“Normally a home primarily to new writing, the theatre has taken a gamble on staging a 75-year-old play. And that gamble has paid off. … a provocative and devastating hour of friendship and betrayal.” – A Younger Theatre.

Address Unknown is showing at the Soho Theatre until 27th July. You can book tickets now, and be sure to pick up a copy of the book before you see the play!

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Address Unknown at the Soho Theatre

Kressmann Taylor’s Address Unknown has an extraordinary history for an international bestseller, and now it will be further enhanced as it takes to the stage.

Originally published in the USA in 1938, Katherine Kressmann Taylor’s Address Unknown became an immediate bestseller. The subject of the book being inappropriate for a woman to be writing about at the time, her publishers dropped her first name and the book was published under her masculine sounding family name, Kressmann Taylor. Unsurprisingly the book was banned in Germany, and Taylor found herself on Hitler’s death list for daring to write such a book.

With the onset of war European publishing was a lost opportunity, and it wasn’t until recently that the book was rediscovered for the classic that it is. In 1995 it was reissued in the USA for the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps, garnering rave reviews again:

[b]etter just to call it a masterpiece … remarkable power and economy … a reminder that important messages come in small envelopes.”  – TIME Magazine

“[t]his modern story is perfection itself.  It is the most effective indictment of Nazism to appear in fiction.” – The New York Times Book Review

[a] tale already known and profoundly appreciated by members of my generation.  It is to our part in World War II what ‘Uncle Toms Cabin’s’ was to the Civil War.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Here in the UK we at Souvenir Press rediscovered it in 2002 and have already reprinted it thirteen times to an equally enthusiastic press:

[t]his simple but profound work reminds us just how cowardly other story writers have been … ‘Address Unknown’ remains one of the most significant, innovative and genuinely engaged fictions about the Nazi era.” – The New Statesman

spend three-quarters of an hour with it and you’ll be jabbing all comers with the injunction: “Read!”” – The Guardian

“celebrate[s] the power of words to name, accuse and condemn human evil.  Taylor’s book is a rare example of fiction that has made a political difference.” – The Times

Previously it has been broadcast by the BBC as an Afternoon Play with Henry Goodman and Patrick Malahide and also at festivals including one in London starring Andrew Sachs and Henry Goodman. Now the pioneering Soho Theatre in the West End of London is simultaneously staging (in early/mid-June) the French adaptation, bringing over its film star participants Christian Clavier (Les Visiteurs, Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre), and Thierry Lhermitte (An American Werewolf in Paris, Les Papas du dimanche, Le noir (te) vous va si bien; and an English version with Jonathan Cullen and Simon Kunz, both directed by Steve Marmion, Soho Theatre’s Artistic Director.

This timeless tale of friendship and betrayal” will run from 13th June to 27th July, with the French performances running between 13th June and 22nd June.

Want to book tickets? Check out the Soho Theatre website for more information, ticket pricing and booking.

Want to read the book before you see the play? Find out more on the Souvenir Press website, or order a copy in hardback or e-book.

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Holocaust Memorial Day 2013

This Sunday, 27th January, is Holocaust Memorial Day 2013. Souvenir Press has two eye-opening books on the tragedies and atrocities faced by Jews all over Europe during the 1940s.

Ashes in the Wind by Dr Jacob Presser is a first-hand account of the tragedy of 1940-45. Beginning in 1940, 110,000 Jews were deported from the Netherlands to concentration camps. Of those, fewer than 6,000 returned. Ashes in the Wind is a monumental history of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and a detailed and moving description of how the Nazi party first discriminated against Jews, before segregating them and finally deporting them to the gas chambers (a process fully outlined in the mass of administrative documents discovered by Dr Presser). At a time when there are increasingly fewer survivors of the Holocaust the eye-witness accounts and contemporary descriptions in Ashes in the Wind powerfully outline, for future generations, the process of dehumanisation, and the silent conformity by Dutch civilians, that allowed the Holocaust to happen.

Address Unknown by Kressmann Taylor is a rediscovered classic, originally published in 1938 – and now an international bestseller. Described by the New York Times Book Review as “the most effective indictment of Nazism to appear in fiction”, Address Unknown is written on the eve of the Holocaust as a series of letters between an American Jew and his German friend. It is a haunting tale of immense and enduring impact, exposing the poison of Nazism. This memorable story survives in an age of racial, ethnic and nationalistic intolerance as a searing reminder that history can repeat itself.

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