Posthumous collections

 

 

POSTHUMOUS COLLECTIONS

 

 

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Henry Williamson relied, throughout the greater part of his writing life, on income generated by the sale of his articles and short stories to newspapers and magazines. Many of these formed the backbone of his early books: The Lone Swallows, The Peregrine's Saga and The Old Stag spring immediately to mind; but much of the material in other books – for example, The Wet Flanders Plain, The Village Book, The Labouring Life and The Linhay on the Downs – also had their origins in his journalism.

 

Lord Beaverbrook's newspaper empire the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Evening Standard provided space for most of his output, but articles were also placed in, amongst others, the Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror, as well as in many magazines.

 

The Daily Express in particular was staunch in its support for much of HW's writing career, publishing articles and short stories between 1921 and 1935, articles about his adventures as a novice farmer between 1937 and 1939, and further articles between 1966 and 1971.

 

Between 1933 and 1936, when living at Shallowford, HW contributed a regular column to the now defunct Sunday Referee. When he moved to Stiffkey in North Norfolk with the intention of restoring the derelict Old Hall Farm, HW had very little in the way of capital, and indeed intended to rely on his articles and broadcasts to supply this. Between 1937 and 1945 he was writing continously, well over 200 articles in all this in addition, remember, to running and working on the farm for a number of newspapers: the Daily Express (19371939); the Evening Standard (19391941); the Eastern Daily Press (19411944); and the Evening Standard again (1944-45).

 

Between 1935 and 1954 (but chiefly before the Second World War) HW also broadcast regular talks for the BBC at first from Bristol, to where he used to motor in his Alvis Silver Eagle, or catch the train from Filleigh station, which was close to Shallowford and then, after the move to Norfolk, from London. The texts of a number of these were reprinted in The Listener. Broadcasts were given live, recording equipment then being in its infancy.

 

North America, too, proved a lucrative and important outlet for his material. American magazines paid far more generously than their British counterparts, and essays and short stories were placed with, amongst others, Colliers Magazine; The Golden Book Magazine; The Wide World Magazine, Outsiders, Pearson's Magazine and the prestigious Atlantic Monthly. HW describes, in The Sun in the Sands, hearing about the first such sale from his agent Andrew Dakers in 1922:

 

One morning the postman brought me a letter from my literary agent telling me that he had sold the story of the peregrine falcons to The Pictorial Review in America for five hundred dollars, and he enclosed a cheque for ninety-eight pounds. . . . I had written several short stories during the winter, one about a badger, another of an otter, a third about a mouse, and other animals, and my agent had had good luck with them . . . placing them with magazies like The Royal, Pearson's, Pan, and The Storyteller, for prices between twelve and twenty guineas. I had all the money I needed. But this was the first American sale, the first "big money".

 

 

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When the Henry Williamson Society was founded in 1980, one of its earliest aims was to research, collect, publish and so rescue from obscurity much of this journalism, which, although an important part of HW's work, by definition was ephemeral: published and read one day, the next day's fish-and-chip wrapping, as the saying used to go. This was not a one-man task, and the project was advanced considerably by the willingness of its members to share their 'finds', for which thanks are here expressed. The Society's first publication, in 1983, was a reprint of HW's Contributions to the Weekly Dispatch. First published privately in 1969 (and so during HW's lifetime), it is not eligible for this page, but the link gives further details.

 

Subsequent collections are detailed below, in order of publication; the page for each gives the Editor's Notes; the Introduction; List of Contents; and a sample extract, in addition to bibliographical details.

 

While some of our books are still in print, all our titles are available as e-books. Links are given as appropriate to our Online Bookshop.

 

 

1987   Days of Wonder (Contributions to the Daily Express, 19661971)
     
1988   From a Country Hilltop (Contributions to Home Magazine, 1958–1962; and The Sunday Times, 1962–1964)
     
1990/91   A Breath of Country Air (2 vols) (Contributions to the Evening Standard, 1944–1945; and 'Quest', 15 linked pieces in Woman's Illustrated and Eve's Own, 1946)
     
1992   Spring Days in Devon, and Other Broadcasts (Transcripts of 22 BBC talks)
     
1993   Pen and Plough: Further Broadcasts (Transcripts of 21 BBC talks; with a checklist of all HW's known BBC radio broadcasts)
     
1994   Threnos for T. E. Lawrence, and Other Writings
     
1995   Green Fields and Pavements: A Norfolk Farmer in Wartime (Contributions to the Eastern Daily Press, 1941–1944)
     
1996   The Notebook of a Nature-lover (Selected contributions to the Sunday Referee, 1933–1936)
     
2000   Words on the West Wind: Selected Essays from The Adelphi, 1924–1950
     
2001   Henry Williamson: A Brief Look at His Life and Writings in North Devon in the 1920s and '30s (A short anthology, edited by Tony Evans)
     
2001   Indian Summer Notebook: A Writer's Miscellany 
     
2003   Heart of England: Contributions to the Evening Standard, 19391941
     
2004  

Chronicles of a Norfolk Farmer: Contributions to the Daily Express, 1937–1939

     
2005   Stumberleap, and Other Devon Writings: Contributions to the Daily Express, 19151935
     
2007   Atlantic Tales: Contributions to The Atlantic Monthly, 19271947

 

 

 

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