Win an Independent Voices Book Bundle!

To celebrate the launch of the brand new Souvenir Press website (hurrah!), we’re giving one lucky person the chance to win a great prize – an Independent Voices book bundle!

Five of our favourite titles are up for grabs, all published in our acclaimed Independent Voices series.

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A little bit about Independent Voices…

The series is dedicated to publishing writers who provide alternative viewpoints and challenge conventional wisdom, making available work that has been unavailable in the UK although it is as relevant today as on its original publication.

You can see all of our other Independent Voices titles on our (brand new!) website at http://www.souvenirpress.co.uk/product-category/independent-voices/.

It’s very easy to enter – all you need to do is one of three things:

  1. Simply retweet one of our tweets about the competition on Twitter (@SouvenirPress)
  2. Like/comment on this blog post
  3. Or email me with the subject heading ‘Independent Voices Competition’

Good luck!

UK only. Deadline for entries is Friday 17th July at 5pm (UK time). One winner will receive a book bundle consisting of Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin, And The Band Played On by Randy Shilts, People Who Say Goodbye by P.Y. Betts, The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter by Albie Sachs and The Warriors by Sol Yurick. One entry per person. Winner will be selected by random draw.

A #translationthurs Spotlight Feature

As it’s #translationthurs we thought we would give you a special treat. Take a look at some hot picks of literature in translation from Souvenir Press: The Testament by Elie Wiesel, translated from the French by his wife Marion Wiesel; Pablo Neruda’s Isla Negra, a bi-lingual edition translated from the Spanish  by Alastair Reid; and Dreamers by Knut Hamsun, translated from the Norwegian by Tom Geddes.

All three authors are Nobel Prize Winners – Neruda and Hamsun were awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971 and 1920 respectively, and in 1986 Elie Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Testament

The Testament, translated by Marion Wiesel, is an encompassing history of the twentieth-century. Paltiel Kossover, a “mute poet” and witness to history, travels from his Jewish childhood in pre-revolutionary Russia to Paris and Berlin in the 1930s as the Nazis take power, and then to Spain during its Civil War. He embraces Communism and returns to Russia, only to be imprisoned. In his cell he writes his ‘testament’ – a long letter to the son he will never see again, an account of his life as a man “who lived a Communist and died a Jew”.

In The Testament Wiesel pays tribute to the many writers killed by Stalin, and in Paltiel he has created one of the great Everyman characters of contemporary literature.

Souvenir Press revived Elie Wiesel’s lost classic in its acclaimed Independent Voices series, dedicated to publishing writers who provide alternative viewpoints and challenge conventional wisdom, making available work that has been unavailable in the UK although it is as relevant today as on its original publication.

isla-negraIsla Negra by Pablo Neruda contains more than a hundred poems that together make up Neruda’s poetic autobiography, exploring his landscape, his roots, and his experiences in an attempt to unify the various “lives” he had left behind in the span of his writing career. Written from the vantage point of Isla Negra, the small village on the Pacific coast of Chile which he came to regard as the centre of his world, the book reads like a series of notes which link past and present, and is perhaps the most revealing of all his collections.This collection moves from childhood impressions and awakenings through his early loves, travels and the dawning of his political awareness to self-scrutiny and self-definition.

This bi-lingual edition contains both Neruda’s Spanish originals and Alastair Reid’s English translations. Souvenir Press also publishes Memoirs, Fully Empowered and Residence on Earth by Pablo Neruda.

DreamersAW_tpDreamers by Knut Hamsun is one of nine books by Hamsun published by Souvenir Press. All nine books are available in eye-catching, uniform editions with cover artwork featuring the paintings of Edvard Munch.

In this delightful comedy, Ove Rolandsen, the telegraph operator in an isolated fishing village in northern Norway, is a man of sudden passions, a cheerful rogue fond of girls and alcohol. He constantly hatches ambitious schemes to the despair of his fiancée, Marie, housekeeper at the vicarage.

When a plan to manufacture glue from fish waste lands him in trouble, is his feckless career over or could fortune, for once, be on his side?

Knut Hamsun is recognised as one of the greatest literary figures of the twentieth century, so be sure to take a look at our website for the full selection of Knut Hamsun titles.

What are you reading this #translationthurs?

Discover Sallie Tisdale’s Intimate Philosophy of Sex

“I don’t worry much about sex anymore. It just is, there – sometimes forward, sometimes over in a corner. There’s mine, and there’s yours, and I don’t worry too much about yours. Sex is just being human.”

First published in 1994, Sallie Tisdale’s Talk Dirty to Me was one of the landmark feminist books of the 1990’s. Now it has been thoroughly revised and updated to make it the definitive work on contemporary attitudes to sexuality. As provocative as on its first publication, frank and insightful, Talk Dirty to Me asks another generation to consider their attitudes to sex and sexuality.

The recent media attention around Channel 4’s ‘Real Sex’ series, the start of the ‘Masters of Sex’ television series, and the furore surrounding Miley Cyrus’ twerking demonstrates how ambiguous society’s attitude to sexuality is still. Challenging commonly held assumptions about almost everything related to sexuality, in Talk Dirty To Me Sallie Tisdale investigates the role of sex in modern human life.

She guides us through her research of peep shows, sex shops, and even the pornography collection of the British Library, exploring romance and pornography, prostitution and morality, fantasies and orgasm. Sallie Tisdale references the findings of sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson, as well as drawing from a host of other sources including James Joyce’s love letters, interviews with prostitutes, American and Japanese pornography, and cultural writing from Roland Barthes and Susie Bright to the work of Freud. 

You can read an exclusive interview with Sallie Tisdale on the Female First website, or find out more about Talk Dirty To Me on the Souvenir Press website.

Talk Dirty To Me is available in paperback and as an e-book, making it available to a new generation of readers. Talk Dirty To Me is published as part of Souvenir Press’ Independent Voices series, which is dedicated to publishing writers who challenge conventional wisdom and offer alternative viewpoints. To view the full range of important, thought-provoking titles in our Independent Voices series, click here.

“Fluidly written, sexy, probing, personally revealing, and wise.” – ‘Kirkus Reviews’

Talk Dirty To Me

Discover Elie Wiesel – “One of the Great Writers of Our Generation”

Described by the New York Times Book Review as “one of the great writers of our generation”, winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, and awarded the Grand Cross in the French Legion of Honour, Elie Wiesel has written 57 books, and been translated into 30 languages.

Now as part of our Independent Voices series, dedicated to publishing writers who provide alternative viewpoints and challenge conventional wisdom, Souvenir Press is publishing The Testament – a book that has been unavailable in the UK for two decades, although it is as relevant today as on its original publication.

Born in Romania in 1928 to Jewish parents, Elie Wiesel was deported as a child to Auschwitz where his mother and sister died. Separated from his mother and sister, Wiesel and his father were sent on to a different camp, Buchenwald, where his father died only weeks before the camp was liberated by the US Army in April 1945.

After the Second World War, Wiesel moved to France and learned French, the language he uses most frequently for writing. But for ten years after the war he refused to write about or discuss his experience of the war. It was only at the urging of François Mauriac, the 1952 Nobel Laureate in Literature, that Wiesel started to put his experiences down on paper. Now aged 85 Wiesel lives in the United States of America with his wife, Marion. His writing is considered among the most important in Holocaust literature.

The Testament, translated by Marion Wiesel, is an encompassing history of the twentieth-century. Paltiel Kossover, a “mute poet” and witness to history, travels from his Jewish childhood in pre-revolutionary Russia to Paris and Berlin in the 1930s as the Nazis take power, and then to Spain during its Civil War. He embraces Communism and returns to Russia, only to be imprisoned. In his cell he writes his ‘testament’ – a long letter to the son he will never see again, an account of his life as a man “who lived a Communist and died a Jew”.

In The Testament Wiesel pays tribute to the many writers killed by Stalin, and in Paltiel he has created one of the great Everyman characters of contemporary literature.

Souvenir Press revives Elie Wiesel’s lost classic as part of its Independent Voices series. An interesting additional feature of the new Souvenir Press edition is the cover which was obtained from The State Museum of The History of GULAG, depicting an artist’s rendering of a gulag.  Available in paperback and as an e-book, The Testament is available to a new generation of readers.

To view the full range of titles in our acclaimed Independent Voices series, click here.

 “An unusually rich, disturbing and satisfying book” – The Times

“A witness for truth and justice” – The Nobel Committee

“Not since Albert Camus has there been such an eloquent spokesman for man” – New York Review of Books

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Black History Month: Stride Toward Freedom

It’s still Black History Month here in the UK. Last year we featured here on our blog four recommended books – read our two blog posts for Black History Month 2012 here and here. This year we’ll give you a more in-depth look at each of these four books.

In the spotlight last week we featured Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin, the diary of a white man who travelled through the Deep South of the 1950s disguised as a black man. Read last week’s Black History Month blog here.

This week, take a look at Stride Toward Freedom by Martin Luther King, Jr. Described by ‘Black History Live’ as “telling the inspiring story of the Civil Rights movement… A very important and moving book which tells the story of the movement that transported and changed not only America but globally”, it is published as part of our Independent Voices series, highlighting its continued cultural importance.

This is Martin Luther King Jr’s account, in his own words, of the origins of the Civil Rights movement in America which culminated in his 1963 ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

It starts with a story we all know: on December 1st 1955 Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. What follows is the unique story of King’s involvement of the budding Civil Rights movement, right from the start. With King at the head, the black community of Montgomery organised a year-long boycott of the bus service: the first large-scale, non-violent protest against racial segregation of its kind in America.

“This book is an account of a few years that changed the life of a Southern community, told from the point of view of the participants… it is the chronicle of 50,000 Negroes who took to heart the principles of non-violence, who learned to fight for their rights with the weapon of love, and who, in the process, acquired a new estimate of their human worth.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Preface to Stride Toward Freedom

At the time of the Montgomery bus boycott King was only 26 years old. Within a year he was a national figure and a leader of the Civil Rights movement. Nine years later, in 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. And only four years later than that, he was assassinated, on April 4th 1968, aged only 39.

What better way to celebrate Black History Month than to look back at where it all began, sowing the seeds that would grow into the Civil Rights Movement in America?

Stride Toward Freedom by Martin Luther King, Jr. is a thought-provoking read, a doorway into history, perfect for Black History Month.

Visit the Black History Month website.

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Black History Month 2013: Black Like Me

October here in the UK is Black History Month. Last year we featured here on our blog four recommended books for you: STRIDE TOWARD FREEDOM by Martin Luther King, Jr, BLACK LIKE ME by John Howard Griffin, SOFT VENGEANCE OF A FREEDOM FIGHTER by Albie Sachs, and THE HORN by John Clellon Holmes. Read our two blog posts for Black History Month 2012 here and here. This year we’ll give you a more in-depth look at each of these four books.

In the spotlight today is BLACK LIKE ME by John Howard Griffin. The diary of a white man who travelled through the Deep South of the 1950s disguised as a black man, it is required reading in schools and colleges in the United States, but has only recently been made available in the UK for the first time in decades, as part of Souvenir Press’ Independent Voices series.

The book starts in October 1959, when Griffin begins his transformation. He artificially darkens his skin and starts out in New Orleans, passing as a black man. He documents his struggle to find work, and the struggle of day-to-day living in the segregated Deep South. From finding a place to stay, to something as basic as finding a bathroom to use or somewhere to buy a glass of water, life as a black man is a series of struggles – some he was aware of before, as a white man, and some which are entirely new. And that’s in the city, where black men admit that they have made “progress” and are treated much better than their counterparts in rural areas.

For two months Griffin passes as a black man, travelling the southern states of America, documenting the varying reactions he receives from strangers. From “fellow” Negros – because at the time he was writing the term ‘African-American’ had not emerged – he found a sense of brotherhood, a community quick to help someone in need, but it was by no means a united community.

From white Americans he could experience everything from cautious politeness to outright hatred. He became accustomed to “hate stares” from whites, and in the worst states is even given a list of rules by a well-meaning Negro to help him “get by”. He’s told not to even look at a white woman, to look at the ground when walking, and to avoid alleyways when walking – he should walk in the middle of the street so as to avoid being beaten and mugged.

BLACK LIKE ME propelled Griffin to national fame for a while, but it provoked anger in equal measure, with Griffin enduring threats and physical violence in the aftermath of publication. Griffin died in 1980 at the age of 60 from complications relating to diabetes. Rumours circulated that his death was due to skin cancer caused by the drugs he used to darken his skin for BLACK LIKE ME, but in fact Griffin didn’t have skin cancer, and the only negative symptoms he experienced from the drugs were nausea and fatigue, and then the effects were only temporary.

Described by the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 as “one of the most extraordinary books ever written about relations between the races”, BLACK LIKE ME by John Howard Griffin is an eye-opening and thought-provoking read, perfect for Black History Month.

Visit the Black History Month website.

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Channel 4: Campaign for Real Sex

Channel 4’s Campaign for Real Sex season “explores how the ever-increasing consumption of freely available internet pornography is distorting people’s expectations of sex, ultimately damaging the sex lives of Britons, particularly young people who have grown up in the age of the internet where hardcore porn is just a click away.”

Last night the second programme in the series aired, the much talked-about Sex Box. This boundary-pushing programme featured three couples – a young straight couple, a gay couple, and a middle-aged straight couple, each of whom in turn had sex in the box – a sound-proof shed-like structure – and then emerged to discuss it with Mariella Frostrup and a team of sex and relationship experts: Dan Savage, Tracey Cox and Phillip Hodson.

While Sex Box received a mixed reception in the media, the series makes an important contribution to the discussion about modern attitudes to sex. If you’re finding Channel 4’s Campaign for Real Sex series interesting, then take a look at Sallie Tisdale’s Talk Dirty To Me, republished this month in a revised and updated edition as part of Souvenir Press’ Independent Voices series.

Discussing everything from romance and pornography, prostitution and morality, to fantasies and orgasm, along the way Sallie Tisdale guides us through peep shows, sex shops, and even the pornography collection of the British Library! Like Channel 4’s current television series, Sallie Tisdale is making a valuable contribution to the current discussion about changing modern attidudes to sexual politics, investigating the role that sex plays in modern life.

“Sex is just being human,” says Sallie Tisdale in the new introduction to Talk Dirty To Me. An open and provocative portrait of sex and sexuality today, we can think of no better place to start a frank and intelligent discussion about sex.

Sex Box may not have lived up to the hype, but the conversation still needs to be had about sex lives in the 21st century. So take a look at this intimate philosophy of sex, and get talking.

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