• The Publishing Post

Publishing News: Issue 31

Penguin Classics Launches Green Ideas Series of Influential Environmental Literature


By Natalia Alvarez


Today, it seems relatively impossible to escape the global effects of climate change. We are constantly surrounded by news of rising temperatures and shrinking glaciers but many people are still unaware of how drastic these changes have been in recent years. With discussions on climate control at an all-time high, society needs to be educated on ways in which we can make a positive impact on the world around us. This is what Penguin Classics hopes to achieve with its new collection dubbed Green Ideas.


Image: Penguin Random House

Penguin Classics is an imprint of Penguin Random House and is known for its wide variety of books that have stood the test of time. Therefore, they have been accepted as classics. This division publishes literature from every corner of the world in various languages to ensure they are reaching a wider audience. This is why it is no surprise that the Green Ideas series would be introduced through this imprint. The idea for the Green Ideas series stemmed from a previous collection called the Penguin Great Ideas series which includes 90 books from the greatest thinkers that we have seen thus far around the world.


The plan with this collection is to take influential literature written about the climate crisis from all over the world and introduce them into a “new canon." To begin, Penguin Classics has chosen 20 works from environmental writers that focus on the effects of the climate crisis. These range from novels to essays or even collections on thoughts and ideas that could change the way we think about our environment.


What is especially interesting about this series is that the entire collection has been taken from writings that span 75 years’ worth of conversations about the environment. This is the first time they will all be gathered under one branch and will hopefully be expanded as more works on environmental literature are introduced.


The Green Ideas series can be found and bought on the Penguin Classics website. More information about the effects of climate change as well as ways to get involved can be found on the United Nations website.


Wigtown Book Festival: ‘Book It’ and ‘Spread the Word’


By Charlotte Hall


If you’ve read anything by Shaun Bythell, you’ll be familiar with his shop, aptly named The Book Shop, famed as Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop (it reports over a mile of shelving). You’ll be able to recall, too, his sometimes touching, always witty observations of the customers who pass through his establishment. The Diary of a Bookseller was a book I picked up in a second-hand bookshop some miles away in London, and I read it to while away some of the many lockdown hours we all faced. Fitting, I think. The Book Shop is in Wigtown, and it was through this funny and rather special diary that I first discovered the town, an officially designated Scotland’s National Book Town in 1998. If this doesn’t give you reason to up sticks and move there immediately, this might; from 1999, it has hosted an annual Wigtown Book Festival, running this year from 22 September to 4 October. The festival has grown to international renown and this year will host the brilliant Alexander McCall Smith talking about his latest addition to The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, The Joy and Light Bus Company, as well as a host of other household names. The festival doesn’t limit itself to just holding talks with authors, it uses its location to best advantage with events such as stargazing walks and fireworks.


Last year, the festival was entirely digital as the world withdrew to protect itself from the ravages of COVID-19. This year, the programme is much reduced, with many events available to stream online. It means the pressure is on to make ends meet and ensure the much-loved festival returns year on year. Adrian Turpin, the festival’s artistic director says, “it is hard to overestimate how financially challenging this year is – even more so than last year. COVID-19 restrictions mean that our opportunities for box office income in 2021 are severely limited, yet many of our running costs remain fixed.” The festival has launched a £25,000 fundraising campaign, ‘Book It’ and ‘Spread the Word’, which encourages both the booking of tickets and, you guessed it, spreading the word. You can read more about the festival’s line-up and how to support it here. With international travel still looking uncertain and staycations in the UK hitting an all-time high, there may be no better time to turn your SatNavs towards southwest Scotland.




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