On 6 October 1972, Picador published its first list of eight paperbacks. It was a list that demonstrated ambition as well as cultural breadth, and included great writing from Latin America (Jorge Luis Borges’s A Personal Anthology), Europe (Hermann Hesse’s Rosshalde), America (Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America) and Britain (Angela Carter’s Heroes and Villains). These books set the tone for Picador: it became a list of books defined by the unique nature of each author's voice.
Almost 42 years later, in January 2014, we began to hatch a plan. What if we mined Picador's backlist of glimmering voices from the past and gave them new life in a series for the twenty-first century? We could have John Banville alongside Alain de Botton; Oliver Sacks with Graham Swift; Maxine Hong Kingston with Kay Redfield Jamison. We would contextualise them with new introductions. We would redesign all the covers, too.
Now, many months and many passionate discussions later, we have the twenty-four books that will launch the Picador Classic series. It's been a real treat for us discovering new favourite books, whether novels, non-fiction, or poetry, and we hope you'll have as much fun reading them.
As we'd hoped, they are illuminated by new introductions – or personal recommendations – from writers and public figures. Many of them also include afterwords from their authors that take you back to the time of the original publication and reveal how that author identifies with their work years on. We have some stunning new covers, designed by the Pan Macmillan art department, and we even have a new font. It's called Picador Classic, of course. Printed on high quality paper and with thick cover boards, the Picador Classic series is also a celebration of the physical book.
By the time the series is launched in January 2015, there will be a wealth of information on picador.com where you can discover the full history of Picador Classic and the stories behind the books themselves.
Without further ado, here is the list of the first books in the series:
The Book of Evidence by John Banville, with an introduction by Colm Tóibín
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, with an introduction by Irvine Welsh
Unreliable Memoirs by Clive James, with an introduction by P.J. O’Rourke
The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe, with an introduction by Ross Raisin
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks, with an introduction by Will Self
The South by Colm Tóibín, with an introduction by Roy Foster
Four Letters of Love by Niall Williams, with an introduction by John Hurt
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst, with an introduction by Sebastian Faulks
The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy, with an introduction by Jeanette Winterson
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, with an introduction by Karen Thompson Walker
Once in a House on Fire by Andrea Ashworth, with an introduction by Eimear McBride
Dispatches by Michael Herr, with an introduction by Kevin Powers
Scottsboro by Ellen Feldman, with an introduction by Jayne Ann Phillips
Essays in Love by Alain de Botton, with an introduction by Sheila Heti
The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston, with an introduction by Xiaolu Guo
Cloudstreet by Tim Winton, with an introduction by Philip Hensher
Waterland by Graham Swift, with an introduction by John Burnside
The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason, with an introduction by Sadie Jones
The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester, with an introduction by John Banville
Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson, with an introduction by Russell Brand
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller, with an introduction by Anne Enright
The Snow Geese by William Fiennes, with an introduction by Robert Macfarlane
An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison, with an introduction by Andrew Solomon
We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with our Families by Philip Gourevitch
Which one are you most looking forward to reading (or rereading, for that matter)?
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