Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Selina Scott and friends bring home A Christmas Carol, the Dickens book inspired by her home town of Malton
When a rare Charles Dickens
edition of A Christmas Carol came up for auction, a Yorkshire town dug deep in
their pockets to buy it
Selina Scott: 'It’s a perfect,
Dickensian ending to our own Christmas Carol
By Selina Scott
The Telegraph 09 Dec 2012
When Charles Dickens penned a personal note on the flyleaf of a copy of A
Christmas Carol to the recently bereaved wife of his best friend, even he could
not have imagined the extraordinary events his words would trigger.
Last month, 169 years later, that same inscribed book, long in the possession
of an American collector, came up for auction in New York, where it was bought
for $35,000 (£21,800) by the Yorkshire market town close to my home that is said
to have inspired the definitive Yuletide story. And with impeccable timing, this
same book has returned to the source of its genesis, just in time for Christmas.
The rare edition was purchased not by a heritage committee or a
millionaire collector, but by the people of Malton. Everyone chipped in
to raise the cash to buy it – schoolchildren, butchers, bakers, local grandees –
in just two weeks. They achieved this after being turned down by every publicly
funded organisation they approached, including, incredibly, the Heritage Lottery
fund for Yorkshire.
On Friday, amid great fanfare, the book arrived in Malton. The local Dickens
Society, which runs the Dickens Museum in the Old Counting House in Chancery
Lane, greeted it dressed in full Victorian regalia and celebrated with one of
the author’s favourite beverages, a potent punch called Smoking Bishop.
Christmas isn’t Christmas without A Christmas Carol. It has delighted young
and old for generations, with its ghostly recanting of the most formidable miser
of them all. Scrooge, Marley’s Ghost, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim are among the
most famous characters in literature. This year, Tommy Steele is starring as
Scrooge at the London Palladium. At the Arts Theatre in London, Simon Callow is
Dickens. The film – one of several versions – with Alastair Sim as Scrooge will
also be on TV. But how did it all begin? Where did Dickens get his notion for A
Christmas Carol? Full story