A very happy New Year to you and all you know, from 4th Estate. 2014 was a fantastic year for books, wasn’t it? Or, to borrow the phrase from Andy Miller, it truly was The Year of Reading Dangerously. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie taught us that We Should All be Feminists, while Lena Dunham told us how she came to be one in Not That Kind of Girl. David Cronenberg put us off our dinner with the fantastic techno-thriller Consumed, but Anna Jones set us back on track with her astonishing debut recipe book A Modern Way to Eat. The phenomenal Sali Hughes taught us all we needed to know about beauty (and all we didn’t know we should) in Pretty Honest: The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion, a guide we should all start referring to daily in the new year.
In terms of debuts, Laline Paull blew us all away with The Bees, a novel that The Guardian rightfully dubbed ‘a fantasy with a sting in its tale’, OkCupid founder Christian Rudder hit us with some big numbers and shocking revelations about our dating choices in Dataclysm, and Andrew Marr delivered one of the most sensational political thrillers ever written in the form of Head of State.
J.G. Ballard would have turned 84 this year, so we dedicated an entire day to him over on our Twitter page (#BallardDay), and you, our wonderful followers, joined in in your hundreds, tweeting your book covers, posters, Ballard collections and favourite novels, some of which are here. Earlier in the year we interviewed the brilliant Stanley Donwood on his Ballard reissue cover designs, and Ballard’s daughters Fay and Beatrice each wrote an undeniably moving piece on their father.
Jeff VanderMeer completed the utterly brilliant (and destined to hit your screens) Southern Reach Trilogy, tying things off with Acceptance, while Tom Perrotta’s The Leftovers HBO adaptation had us all captivated, confused, and hearing “but where did everybody go??” at every turn.
And how about prizes? 4th Estate had an amazing run, with EIGHT of our titles being nominated for the Folio Prize (The Emperor Waltz, We Are Not Ourselves, All the Light We Cannot See, In the Approaches and more). All the Light We Cannot See was awarded the prize for ‘Best Historical Fiction’ at the Goodreads Choice Awards, while Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah was shortlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction and The Dog by Joseph O’Neill was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. We Are Not Ourselves was also nominated for the prestigious Guardian First Book Award.
Literature, and the world, lost one of its greats; Maya Angelou passed away on the 28th of May aged 86, and all that we could do was give our thanks to her. Our website had a makeover, bringing you a fresher, cleaner look, as well as new content: FoodFrom4th was launched, a chance for you to stockpile some of our exclusive recipes from our favourite cookbooks every Friday, and October saw WOM4N, a month dedicated to women writers.
As you can see, 2014 was quite the year, and that isn’t even the half of it. This month, we’ll be bringing to you snippets and content of our fresh new books for 2015, so make sure to check back; you might even be in with the chance to win a prize or two. We’re looking forward to the literature, and the change, that 2015 brings.