Let’s Compromise and Say I’m Right – The Launch Party at The Cartoon Museum

The vibrant Cartoon Museum was the site of our launch of Mel Calman’s Let’s Compromise and Say I’m Right, a compilation by his daughter, Stephanie Calman, of his best work on love and marriage.

Amongst the guests were many of his distinguished peers, including Steve Appleby, David Gentleman, Posy Simmonds, Nick Garland, John Jensen and broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby.

Mel Calman was one of Britain’s best loved cartoonists. In Stephanie’s speech or welcome, in the Cartoon Gallery, of which he was one of the founders, she reminded us that it was in this area of human relations that he truly excelled, and where his work is timeless. She also quoted Michael Palin, who has provided a foreword for Let’s Compromise and Say I’m Right:

“He had an uncanny ear for the nuances of self-delusion without ever making us feel we’re being mocked. In fact, it’s the opposite. Far from being judged, we feel we’re sharing the confusion with the cartoonist himself. Mel was like that – a psychiatrist who makes you laugh.”

“I’d recommend this volume to anyone in love or thinking of getting married. Or, more particularly, to anyone out of love and wondering where it all went wrong. These wonderful cartoons won’t stem the tears but they might just produce some choking laughter. And that’s a start.”

The Cartoon Museum is a gem to visit, and is currently organising a national competition for young cartoonists. Mel Calman’s Let’s Compromise and Say I’m Right is published on October 22nd; it’s the perfect gift book to slip into your pocket to cheer you up.

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Mr Hecht and Stephanie at the launch, with the original cartoon from the cover of ‘Let’s Compromise and Say I’m Right’ behind them.
Stephanie Calman, alongside another of Mel Calman's cartoons.
Stephanie Calman, alongside another of Mel Calman’s cartoons.

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.

black-like-me1 SOFT-VENGEANCE-web-jacket warriors And-the-Band-Played-On1 People Who Say Goodbye cover

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.

#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…


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!


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


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


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


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!

Naming and Blessing: 2013’s top baby names

When the lists of this year’s most popular baby names were released last week, there was perhaps some surprise that Royal names weren’t at the top of the list. After the birth of Prince George in July, George was only number 13 on the top 100 boy’s names this year. Harry was up at number 4, and William was at number 11. Clearly new mums and dads didn’t want to be seen to be copying the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!

For boys’ names this year, the most popular choice was Oliver, with this being mirrored in choice of girls’ names, where Olivia was number one on the list.

Naming and Blessing by Reverend Andrew Tawn is a collection of personalised name prayers for more than 500 baby names, perfect for christening readings or for parents wanting to pray for their child at any stage in their life. Below are the name prayers for this year’s most popular baby names, taken from Andrew Tawn’s Naming and Blessing, published by Souvenir Press.

On all that Oliver is and does,
Lord, grant your love and blessing.
In all the challenges he undertakes
Various gifts bestow upon him.
Everyone he loves and all who love him,
Reach out, Lord, to bless them through him.


Over your walking and going out
Let God keep watch and guard you.
In your making and your working
Various gifts of God equip you.
In your coming in and resting
All God’s peace and love be with you.

(Name prayers © Andrew Tawn, Naming and Blessing, published by Souvenir Press)

Naming And Blessing cover

Lou Reed and Delmore Schwartz

When Lou Reed died last month from complications following a liver transplant, the world of rock music lost one of its most enduring and influential characters.

But while Lou Reed will be remembered for his music and the influence he had on artists including David Bowie, U2, Patti Smith and Morrissey, what do we know about the influences on Reed’s own music?

While studying at Syracuse University, Lou Reed was taught by Delmore Schwartz, who had a huge influence on Reed’s lyrical style. Lou Reed described Delmore Schwartz as his “spiritual godfather” and dedicated ‘European Son’ on the Velvet Underground and Nico album to Schwartz.

But it is his 1982 album ‘The Blue Mask’ that gives the best indicator of how Reed valued Schwartz’s influence. The song ‘My House’ tells of Reed’s relationship with Schwartz, calling him “my friend and teacher”. In the song, Reed writes that Schwartz “was the first great man that I ever met”.

In June 2012, Poetry magazine published a short prose piece by Lou Reed, ‘O Delmore how I miss you’, a tribute to Delmore Schwartz that makes several mentions of Schwartz’s seminal work, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities.

In Dreams Begin Responsibilities is the opening story in the collection of eight of Delmore Schwartz’s finest short stories, published by Souvenir Press. It is the first British paperback publication of a work of fiction that was the foundation for all post-World-War-Two American-Jewish fiction.

Discover the man who was a defining influence on Lou Reed, but died destitute and alone in a New York hotel aged only 52.

In Dreams cover scan

Author Corner: Caroline Deput on the Joy of Allotments

Book Review Two for Vegetable Growers The Joy of AllotmentsCaroline Deput is the author of THE JOY OF ALLOTMENTS, a beautifully illustrated diary of two years on her allotment. A must-read for all gardeners, who will all recognise the trials and rewards of tending a garden, you can read a free sample here, or read on for Caroline’s illustrated guide to planning your allotment. From crop rotation to pest prevention, you can plan for everything – except, of course, the great British weather.

For more blog posts in our Author Corner, click here.

The Importance of Planning
By Caroline Deput

Over the last 13 years, I’ve discovered that tending an allotment requires a lot of planning and organisation.

Caroline Deput blog 1

 Crop Rotation – not my strongest subject

I’m not good at remembering which vegetables should follow one another. I know it’s important and I should look it up and write it down, but I always forget. Do brassicas go before or after potatoes? No idea. And what about this new tomato grafted onto a potato plant, so it produces tomatoes above ground and potatoes below? How does that fit into a crop rotation?! If I could eventually get the hang of it, my veg would grow like a well-orchestrated symphony.

Caroline Deput blog 2

 Crops need constant vigilance against all sorts of pests.

Perhaps I’m paranoid, but right from the first day I got the allotment, I could sense the wildlife watching, waiting for me to fail.

I try to garden organically, and that means I have to be quite tough. So look away now if you are squeamish…

I’m afraid slugs get stamped underfoot, whitefly larvae get squished, and the rabbits are eaten by the foxes. I don’t mind the parakeets, rumoured to have escaped from the set of ‘The African Queen’ at Shepperton Studios nearby, as they look pretty eating the sunflowers.

Caroline Deput blog 3

You need accommodate different veg’s particular growing needs.

Some like a sandy soil; others need protection from the elements at the beginning of the growing season while others are unhelpfully described as ‘not fussy.’

Caroline Deput blog 4

Plan DIY projects properly

I’ve always fancied one of those ornate circular seats that fit round a tree – the sort you see at National Trust properties. Our local DIY store was throwing out 6-foot long pallets, so my husband helped me take 5 of them up to the allotment.

‘What will you do with them?’ he asked.

‘Make a bench!’ I replied.

‘Need a hand?’

‘No, I’ll be fine, ta.’

Well, I measured and re-measured for my octagonal bench, which would fit perfectly around my palm tree on the allotment. Yet somehow I ended up with something more like a septagon-and-a-half than an octagon. And so flimsy, it would collapse if anything more than a robin should sit on it. Hey ho.

Caroline Deput blog 5

 But not everything can be planned…

Unexpected generosity

One of the chaps on the allotments had some manure delivered this summer. I say ‘some.’ It was more like a ton. We all couldn’t believe it when he told us all to help ourselves. You could barely see us, we moved so fast with our wheelbarrows up and down that path to the main gate. (The soil is so sandy on the plot that without constant muck it would dry out and blow away.

Caroline Deput blog 6

And you can never plan for the weather

When you work full time, as I do, you have to get onto your plot at the weekend – whatever the weather.

Last summer was like a monsoon. The rain just kept on coming.

Caroline Deput blog 7

So I gave up hoping the weather would improve, and longed instead for a stylish boat that I could use to sail around the potato beds…

Caroline Deput blog 8

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?

The Joy of Allotments!

“What makes the allotment my place? It’s a mix of meditation, therapy and exercise, a place for me and my thoughts. That’s what I’ve tried to capture in this book – what it feels like to tend an allotment. Frankly, I view growing vegetables as a bit of a bonus.”

If you’re a keen gardener then you will no doubt recognise the highs and lows of the growing year as documented in Caroline Deput’s diary of two years on her allotment, The Joy of Allotments.

With charming, colourful illustrations throughout, fellow gardeners and allotment holders will groan in recognition at Caroline’s eternal (and often misplaced) optimism. There is always something to be done, whether it’s weeding, watering, hoeing, sowing… and that’s before you even get to the harvest, when your crop may or may not have fallen victim to insects, rodents, badgers, weeds, rabbits, pigeons, slugs or helpful children.

The Joy of Allotments is now available in hardback, and will make the perfect present either for yourself or the gardener in your life. Visit the Souvenir Press website for more information, or take a look at a couple of sample pages (you can click on them to enlarge) taken from the book.

Coming soon, we will also have for you an exclusive illustrated guest blog from Caroline Deput!

Joy of Allotments - September

Joy of Allotments - October

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