• Clair Lamb

November 2021

Dear Folks,


I know it’s only been a few weeks since you’ve heard from me but, darn it, I just can’t quit you. Blame yourselves for being so lovable. Also, we do have some bits and pieces of news that might be of interest, which always helps. I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m needy. Well, not just needy . . .


SHADOW VOICES finds an audience


We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the Republic of Ireland, but it feels appropriate to thank the booksellers and readers who have supported the launch of SHADOW VOICES: 300 Years of Irish Genre Fiction, A History in Stories. It was lovely to see everyone who came out to the events in Dublin and Belfast — and I’m glad to say that I’ll get to at least one more city on the island before the end of the year (keep reading for details).


Reviewers have been kind about SHADOW VOICES, with The Irish Times describing it as a “landmark volume” and recognizing exactly what I wanted to do — “He obviously loves fiction and hopes we’ll discuss it more vigorously when we whack the snobbery out of us” — and the Irish Independent calling it a “magnificent achievement” and “terrific fun.” So thanks to them, too.


Cork: One afternoon only!


Obligations bring me to Cork next week, so the nice people at Waterstones Cork have agreed to let me drop in, bother their customers, and personalize copies of SHADOW VOICES for anyone who wants one. It’s a chance to come along and say hello, should you wish, and you’re free to bring books that might have languished unsigned due to the difficulties of the last eighteen months or so. I’ll also have the last of the SHADOW VOICES totes and ephemera envelopes, and some of the stuff from the last two novels. If you missed out, bring your old copy along and I’ll see what I can do. Obviously, if you fancy picking up SHADOW VOICES as well, that would be nice. That wine isn’t going to buy itself, you know, and you don’t want to see me reduced to drinking out of boxes. If you can’t make it on the day, the nice Waterstones’ folk will be happy to set something aside.


I’ll be at the store between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 2, and we’ll be observing all the protocols — masks, distancing — so you’ll be in safe hands, metaphorically speaking.


The Irish Independent said that SHADOW VOICES “would make a fabulous Christmas gift,” and several stores around Ireland may still have tote bags and envelopes of ephemera. Check with these fine independent booksellers, who had some left about a week ago:

Most of these stores will gladly ship to you, but we’re only a month from Christmas, so don’t wait.


SHADOW VOICES on sale in the US and Canada


Meanwhile, my UK publishers, Hodder & Stoughton, have acquired the American/Canadian rights to SHADOW VOICES, which means that Americans and Canadians will soon be able to order the UK hardcover through Amazon.com. The e-book should also be available in the US and Canada within the coming weeks, also through Amazon. A physical US edition will, we hope, be available next year, and we’ll share that information as soon as we have it, but for now the Amazon option is the best we can offer.


American readers looking for holiday gifts can also get copies of THE NAMELESS ONES with tote bags, signed cards, and signed bookplates from most of the independent stores that had them last month (but check with them for availability):


And that’s my news, at least for now. If events warrant, you may hear from me once more before the end of the year. If not, I send early best wishes for a holiday season that is merry and bright, and a 2022 that is easier for everyone. Since Christmas falls on a Saturday this year, you can listen to my holiday-thedition of ABC to XTC on RTÉ Gold at 5:00 p.m. Dublin time on the day itself.


Thanks, as always, for your interest and support —


John