Here's a brief description:
This is a talk about how not to publish a book.
Sigh For A Strange Land, the novel by Monica Stirling, first appeared in 1958, and tells the story of three refugees from an unnamed Eastern European country who find themselves adrift in Europe with just their wits - and their love for one another - to sustain them.
In 2023, writer Irfan Shah decided to re-release this forgotten classic. What followed was a
a series of misadventures as a labour of love turned into a journey into the margins of publishing and a Grand Tour of an alternative history of literature. It also led him to discover the surviving members of the Stirling family who revealed more about their remarkable Aunt - the doomed but dazzling Monica.
This is the story of her novel, her extraordinary life, and Shah’s clueless but spirited attempts to give Sigh For A Strange Land a second chance. It is a talk about books and dreams. It’s also one with a twist, for not everything turned out to be quite what Shah had expected.
Odd, touching and life-affirming, it manages to incorporate everything, from the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, to politically incorrect sitcoms of the 1960’s; General De Gaulle; semi-retired rally-drivers, Judi Dench and donkey sanctuaries.
With The Book From Nowhere, Shah has concocted a delightful talk, perfect for all bibliophiles.
We will be kicking off at the Grove Bookshop in Ilkley, North Yorkshire on 14th March (click here for more details). This will be followed by a talk at the Stripey Badger bookshop in Grassington, North Yorkshire on 25th March 2024 (click here for more details).
We'll publish more dates and venues in the next few weeks!