A good friend, Professor Hope Jennings, has had her novel, Nostalgia, picked up by Anti-Oedipus Press. Not only am I happy for Hope’s success because she’s a dear friend and a talented academic and author, but also because this is yet another story of perseverance.
For as long as I have known Hope, she’s been working on Nostalgia. In fact, an early draft of a chapter was read at an event I organised at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe back in 2005, and she had been working on the book for a few years before that. I read the first completed draft of the manuscript in 2010, and since that time it has been redrafted and rewritten several more times. So, it is without exaggeration that I can say it has taken over ten years for Nostalgia to go from idea to publication.
Not only has Dr Jennings been writing, re-writing and editing this book for quite some time, but Nostalgia is a ‘high concept’ piece. The publishers describe it as:
[…] the definitive biography of Mina Byrne, obscure modernist avant-garde poet, painter, lamp-shade maker, and never-before-suspected muse of infamous Russian-American novelist, Vasili Novikov, and his son, Andrew Brennan, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. […]Jennings’ groundbreaking portrait of an unknown and possibly plagiarized life presents a metafictional map of literary obsession, sexual betrayal, and monstrous megalomania.
This means it was not the type of book that automatically brings dollar signs to the eyes of agents, and it needed a publisher who saw how the beauty in the writing, the intricacy of the narrative, and the talent of the author could translate into sales. And, after a lot of searching, Nostalgia found that publisher. And, the fact that I will be able to hold Nostalgia in my hands in 2015 reiterates what I have repeated stated to my students. If you are dedicated to the craft and remain focused on your work, then you will find a publisher. And, if you haven’t found a publisher yet, then you’ve got more work to do.
Check out Nostalgia at Anti-Opedipus Press.