Here is the long-awaited revision of The Encyclopaedia of Girls’ School Stories, the original Ashgate edition, which was published in 2000, having been long out of print and hard to obtain second-hand. This is the essential guide for any enthusiast of the girls’ school story.
Sue Sims (top right) and Hilary Clare (bottom right) are the acknowledged experts in the field and have spent decades researching the subject. Sue has the largest known collection of girls’ school stories in private hands in the UK, and the authors are both scholars and enthusiasts. The book contains entries for every known school-story writer in the UK and Commonwealth, with complete bibliographies of the writer’s school stories and related books, listings of their series, ‘fill-in’ stories using their characters by recent authors, and details of their illustrators. All the major authors and many of the more interesting (or amusingly bad) minor ones have critical assessments of their strengths and weaknesses, and the most significant ones have extended essays on their contribution to the genre. The book is a delight to read for the wit, insight and humour of its writers, who have wonderful knack of being able to sum up a book’s style in a few pithy words.
This is not only a comprehensive research tool (essential for compiling wants lists, as the book’s editor, Tig Thomas, has found to the detriment of her bank balance), but it’s also a wonderful compendium to dip into, to savour the writing on a favourite author or to enjoy Sue and Hilary’s marvellous skill at helping readers crystallise in their mind just why they enjoy a particular author, or why another one has never quite worked for them.
Indispensable for the collector in its scope and depth of detail, The Encyclopaedia of Girls’ School Stories gives invaluable guidance to our well-loved authors, with many fascinating details of their often surprising lives, including the fact that Evelyn Smith was John Mortimer’s aunt, John Creasey, the thriller writer, wrote two girls’ school stories, and that while it’s not surprising when school story writers turn out to be teachers, J M Page was a solicitor, Josephine Elder a doctor, Betty Laws was a dentist and Louise Mack a war correspondent. This new edition represents years of further research since the 2000 edition.
Volume I contains:
- An extended introduction by Sue discussing the new resurgence of school story writers.
- Expanded biographies of every major writer in the first half of the alphabet and many minor school story writers, containing a great deal of newly discovered information about their lives.
- Updated bibliographies
- Intelligent and witty critical analysis of writers’ strengths and weaknesses—often with guidance as to which are the best books of that writer’s output and which are the ones to avoid
- Entries written by guest experts on particular writers.
- Rosemary Auchmuty’s article on the books written about girls’ school stories, with an update by Hilary covering the years since the last edition.
- A new longer essay on Elinor M Brent-Dyer
- Articles by Sue and Hilary on how they do their research
The Encyclopaedia of Girls’ School Stories will be illustrated with over 200 book wrappers or covers, many of them rare.
Volume II will contain the second section of the alphabet, and many articles on specialist areas of the girls’ school story, such as ballet and pony school stories, evangelistic books, annuals, adult school stories, early school stories, and ones published since the last edition.
The Encyclopaedia of Girls’ School Stories Volume One will be published in February 2020