Since 2002 Hesperus Press, an independent publisher based in London, has been reissuing neglected classics, unsung contemporary fiction, translations, biographies, histories, and authoritative nonfiction from all over the world. The press’s motto is Et Remotissima Prope, which translates from the Latin as “bringing near what is far”; if anyone around here is celebrating the underdog, it’s definitely Hesperus.
To celebrate its tenth anniversary, the press is holding a competition that should appeal to most of you like-minded souls. It’s asking readers to submit an out-of-print book they’d like to see back in print—accompanied by 500 words (or less) explaining exactly why it’s wonderful and deserves a fresh chance. The winning title will be published by Hesperus in September, with the winning essay as its introduction. Works can be fiction or non-fiction, and of any length, including a short story or story collection. And while the author can be of any nationality, the book in question must have been written in or translated into English.
While there are plenty of other publishers out there who solicit your ideas on books to reissue, this is something that could actually see the light of day with your very own accolades appended. It doesn’t get more on-the-record than that. The deadline is June 1, though, so all you advocates of forgotten gems should get on it right away. Your entry should be emailed or posted* to Hesperus Press with the book’s title, author, and last known publication date, your full name, address, telephone number, and email address, clearly marked “Uncover a Classic.” Full instructions can be found here, helpfully pointing out that “500 word endorsements must be written in English and of a high literary standard.” Although I would expect nothing less of our readers.
* And while we’re at it, could we take a hint from the British and replace the slightly slimy, overly cumbersome and cutesy term “snail mail” with the nicely dignified “post”? Thank you.