Monday, 13 July 2015

Press Release: Bello to Publish the Forgotten Adult Novels of Richmal Crompton, Celebrated Author of Just William Series


‘. . . for many years I looked on William as “my character”.
He was my puppet. I pulled the strings. But gradually the tables have been turned. I am his puppet.’
– Richmal Crompton, 1958

Lancashire-born Richmal Crompton is best known for her thirty-eight-strong Just William children’s series, which shot her to global fame. Yet it is little known that the incredibly prolific writer expressed deep regret over William dominating her work, most notably her forty-one adult novels and nine collections of short stories. On 27th August 2015, eleven of those adult novels will be brought to a new readership by Bello, Pan Macmillan’s digital imprint.

Despite the popularity of the Just Williams series, Crompton
remains widely misunderstood and many readers assume the children’s adventure series was written by a man. It is Crompton’s perceptive adult novels which offer readers the best insight into her psyche and life. Largely realist, they are centred around family, social and village life, sadness and dissatisfaction, and explore the strains of family life, a woman’s place in society and the lives of older widowed men.

These novels include Marriage of Hermione, The Old Man’s Birthday and There are Four Seasons, each every bit as charming as her beloved Just William series.

Marriage of Hermione, first published in 1932, tells the story of the married life of Charles and Hermione Dereham from their first meeting in 1882 to their golden wedding in 1932, an ordinary and overtly honest depiction of a marriage without sensation. Marriage of Hermione contains much comedy, tragedy and drama, all universal facets of family life, in its Bello to publish the forgotten adult novels of Richmal Crompton, celebrated author of



Just William series

‘. . . for many years I looked on William as “my character”.

He was my puppet. I pulled the strings. But gradually the tables have been turned. I am his puppet.’

– Richmal Crompton, 1958



Lancashire-born Richmal Crompton is best known for her thirty-eight-strong Just William children’s series, which shot her to global fame. Yet it is little known that the incredibly prolific writer expressed deep regret over William dominating her work, most notably her forty-one adult novels and nine collections of short stories. On 27th August 2015, eleven of those adult novels will be brought to a new readership by Bello, Pan Macmillan’s digital imprint.

Despite the popularity of the Just Williams series, Crompton

remains widely misunderstood and many readers assume the children’s adventure series was written by a man. It is Crompton’s perceptive adult novels which offer readers the best insight into her psyche and life. Largely realist, they are centred around family, social and village life, sadness and dissatisfaction, and explore the strains of family life, a woman’s place in society and the lives of older widowed men.

These novels include Marriage of Hermione, The Old Man’s Birthday and There are Four Seasons, each every bit as charming as her beloved Just William series.

Marriage of Hermione, first published in 1932, tells the story of the married life of Charles and Hermione Dereham from their first meeting in 1882 to their golden wedding in 1932, an ordinary and overtly honest depiction of a marriage without sensation. Marriage of Hermione contains much comedy, tragedy and drama, all universal facets of family life, in its analysis of a marriage marred by monotony.

First published in 1936, The Old Man’s Birthday, is a thoroughly entertaining book offering a dry satire of British village life and a nostalgic treat for fans of the gentler brand of interwar fiction. It is the story of old Matthew Royston’s 95th birthday. A day which, from breakfast to the family dinner party, precipitates climaxes for each member of his assembled family. Teaming beneath the calm surface of village and family life, readers will find a whole world of secrets, desires, hopes and dreams.

In There are Four Seasons, first published in 1937, a young girl Vicki’s faces resentment from her father for resembling the wife who ran away and left him for another man. Following Vicki from her childhood to old age, Crompton explores how this childhood trauma stays with Vicki throughout her life, through marriage and motherhood.

Bello will also reissue Chedsy Place, Narcissa, Merlin Bay, Caroline, The Holiday, Steffan Green, Portrait of a Family, and Journeying Wave.

Richmal Crompton was born in 1890 in Lancashire. She won a scholarship to Royal Holloway in London, where she took part in the Women’s Suffrage movement and studied Classics. She trained as a schoolteacher, before turning to write full time. Richmal Crompton died in 1969 at the age of seventy-nine, having written thirty-eight books featuring William Brown, forty-one novels for adults and nine collections of short stories.

Elizabeth Campbell, Editorial Executive at Bello, comments,

‘Richmal Crompton’s adult works truly are a remarkable testimony to the breadth of her talent as a writer. We are delighted to have unearthed them and to be finally giving recognition to her largely forgotten adult work.’ of a marriage marred by monotony.

First published in 1936, The Old Man’s Birthday, is a thoroughly entertaining book offering a dry satire of British village life and a nostalgic treat for fans of the gentler brand of interwar fiction. It is the story of old Matthew Royston’s 95th birthday. A day which, from breakfast to the family dinner party, precipitates climaxes for each member of his assembled family. Teaming beneath the calm surface of village and family life, readers will find a whole world of secrets, desires, hopes and dreams.

In There are Four Seasons, first published in 1937, a young girl Vicki’s faces resentment from her father for resembling the wife who ran away and left him for another man. Following Vicki from her childhood to old age, Crompton explores how this childhood trauma stays with Vicki throughout her life, through marriage and motherhood.

Bello will also reissue Chedsy Place, Narcissa, Merlin Bay, Caroline, The Holiday, Steffan Green, Portrait of a Family, and Journeying Wave.

Richmal Crompton was born in 1890 in Lancashire. She won a scholarship to Royal Holloway in London, where she took part in the Women’s Suffrage movement and studied Classics. She trained as a schoolteacher, before turning to write full time. Richmal Crompton died in 1969 at the age of seventy-nine, having written thirty-eight books featuring William Brown, forty-one novels for adults and nine collections of short stories.

Elizabeth Campbell, Editorial Executive at Bello, comments,
‘Richmal Crompton’s adult works truly are a remarkable testimony to the breadth of her talent as a writer. We are delighted to have unearthed them and to be finally giving recognition to her largely forgotten adult work.’
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