This is not a children's book, as may be supposed from the title, but a collection of essays first published in The Idler magazine, in which over twenty well-known authors write with characteristic style and humour of their experiences in writing their first book… and getting it published.
Authors include Jerome K. Jerome, R. L. Stevenson, Bret Harte, Rider Haggard, Rudyard Kipling, Conan Doyle and Mary Braddon. Full of charm, humour and pathos, this book is like a fireside chat with great writers of the past, as well as being a fascinating insight into the literary scene of the late 19th century.
The listener is warned that a few of the authors give away the ending of their book, especially when they were pressurised into changing it by the publisher.
Here are links to online texts of the works discussed, where available:
The Family Scapegrace;
The Wreck of the ‘Grosvenor’;
The Shadow of a Crime;
The Trail of the Serpent;
The House of Elmore;
The Premier and the Painter;
The Western Avernus;
A Life’s Atonement;
A Romance of Two Worlds;
On the Stage and Off;
Dead Man’s Rock;
Idyls and Legends of Inverburn;
(Summary by Ruth Golding)
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