coming-of-age

Coming of age classics

Is there a story that has a permanent place in your heart?

 

Is there a story that you would wish to pass on to the next generation, and would yourself happily read again now?

Following on from our much-loved limited-edition hardbacks of favourites such as Excellent Women, Valley of the Dolls, The Enchanted April and The Dud Avocado, we're very excited to have created a unique new set of hardbacks – six modern classic coming-of-age stories, for adult and young adult readers alike, with stunning interconnecting artwork by New York illustrator Mira Nameth. We hope that these beautiful, special books will be collected, enjoyed, cherished and pressed into the hands of other readers, whatever their age. Each has been selected for its striking depiction of a time, a place and a young woman on the cusp of adulthood.

Invitation to the Waltz and My Brilliant Career are perennial, much-loved Virago Modern Classics. Slammerkin, Tipping the Velvet and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings are proudly published by Virago Press and, amazingly, it’s the first time the latter two have been available in hardback in this country. And with the little gem that is The River, we’re thrilled to launch our publishing of Rumer Godden, a new addition to the Virago Modern Classics.

If you have read and loved one or more of these novels in the past and would like to tell us and other readers why, when or where you enjoyed them, we’d be delighted to hear from you.  Or indeed, if you have another favourite coming-of-age classic, from Virago or any other publisher, share that with us too. We always love to hear your comments and suggestions. Visit our facebook and twitter pages.


The six titles, publishing in August, are:

Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue

Mary, daughter of a poor seamstress, longs for fine clothes as her neighbours hunger for food and warmth. For the love of a gorgeous red ribbon, she is seduced into a life on the cold, murky streets of late 1700s London.

Invitation to the Waltz by Rosamond Lehmann

On her seventeenth birthday, Olivia Curtis receives: a diary for her innermost thoughts, a ten-shilling note and a roll of flame-coloured silk for her first ballgown. For her pretty sister Kate, the dance is sure to be a triumph, but what will it be for shy, awkward Olivia?

My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

Trapped on her parents' farm in the hardscrabble Australian outback, Sybylla Melvyn longs for a refined lifestyle, but most of all she longs to achieve great things. Soon she finds herself choosing between the conventional path and her plans for a 'brilliant career'.

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

A multi-layered historical romance set in the 'roaring' 1890s, Sarah Waters’ bestselling debut novel follows the glittering career of Nan King from Whitstable oyster-girl to star of the music hall to cross-dressing rentboy to East End 'tom'.

The River by Rumer Godden

Harriet is caught between two worlds, and the comforting rhythm of her Indian childhood – the sounds of the jute factory, the colourful festivals and the eternal ebb and flow of the river on its journey to the Bay of Bengal – is about to be shattered by a tragic event.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou

In the celebrated first volume of her autobiography, Maya Angelou evokes her childhood in the American South of the 1930s. As a black woman, Maya Angelou has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope and joy, celebration and achievement.

Virago

Slammerkin

By Emma Donoghue

'Strangers might remember a trip to see a girl hang, but who would spare a thought for the whos and hows and whys?'

At thirteen, Mary, the daughter of a poor seamstress, longs for fine clothes as her neighbours hunger for food and warmth. For the love of a gorgeous red ribbon she finds herself seduced into a life on the cold, dangerous streets of late 1700s London. Her saviour is Doll, a gaudy young woman who takes her under her wing. But Mary soon discovers that she can't escape her past and that people like her pay must pay dearly for yearnings not fitting to their class . . .

The collection has been expertly put together to remind the reader that while the way we describe things has changed, the feelings behind them certainly haven't. Bold, beautiful ... everyone's appetites will be satisfied.Emma Donoghue's gripping novel in a beautiful new hardback edition as part of the VMC set for adult and young adult readers.Emma Donoghue is an Irish novelist, playwright and historian who lives in Canada. Her books include The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits, Touchy Subjects and Life Mask. Her critically acclaimed and internationally bestselling novel Room was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010.

A classic coming-of-age story

Mary, the daughter of a poor seamstress, longs for fine clothes as her neighbours hunger for food and warmth. For the love of a gorgeous red ribbon, she is seduced into a life on the cold, murky streets of late 1700s London. Her saviour is Doll, a gaudy young woman who takes her under her wing. But Mary soon discovers that she can't escape her past and that people like her must pay dearly for yearnings not fitting to their class . . .

Collect the series [thumbnails of all 6 books]

Beautiful, collectible hardback edition as part of the VMC Generation set of 6 coming-of-age classics for adult and young adult readers.Will be much admired and coveted by booksellers and readers as previous VMC hardback series have been.Emma Donoghue's Man Booker-shortlisted novel Room has sold over half a million copies.
Virago

Invitation To The Waltz

By Rosamond Lehmann

On her seventeenth birthday, Olivia Curtis receives: a diary for her innermost thoughts, a china ornament, a ten-shilling note and a roll of flame-coloured silk for her first ball dress. She anticipates the dance, the greatest and most terrifying event of her life so far, with uncertainty and excitement. For her pretty sister Kate, it is sure to be a triumph, but what will it be for shy, awkward Olivia?

Rosamond Lehmann, one of the best-loved writers of the twentieth century, perfectly captures the emotions of a girl poised on the threshold of womanhood.

The collection has been expertly put together to remind the reader that while the way we describe things has changed, the feelings behind them certainly haven't. Bold, beautiful ... everyone's appetites will be satisfied.The classic coming-of-age novel is made available in a covetable hardback in the VMC set for adult and young adult readers.Rosamond Lehmann (1901-90) was educated at Girton College, Cambridge and wrote the bestselling Dusty Answer in her twenties. She is one of the most distinguished novelists of the last century and was awarded a CBE in 1982.

A classic coming-of-age story

On her seventeenth birthday, Olivia Curtis receives: a diary for her innermost thoughts, a china ornament, a ten-shilling note, and a roll of flame-coloured silk for her first balldress. She anticipates the dance, the greatest and most terrifying event of her life so far, with uncertainty and excitement. For her pretty sister Kate, it is sure to be a triumph, but what will it be for shy, awkward Olivia?

Collect the series [thumbnails of all 6 books]

Beautiful, collectible hardback, part of the VMC set of 6 coming-of-age classics for adult and young adult readers.Will be much admired and coveted by booksellers and readers as previous VMC hardback series have been.A perennial favourite on the VMC list from one of the best-loved writers of the twentieth century.
Virago

Tipping The Velvet

By Sarah Waters

'Piercing the shadows of the naked stage was a single shaft of rosy limelight, and in the centre of this was a girl: the most marvellous girl - I knew it at once! - that I had ever seen.'

A saucy, sensuous and multi-layered historical romance set in the 'roaring' 1890s, Tipping the Velvet follows the glittering career of Nan King on her journey from Whitstable oyster-girl to music-hall star to cross-dressing rentboy to East End 'tom'.

The collection has been expertly put together to remind the reader that while the way we describe things has changed, the feelings behind them certainly haven't. Bold, beautiful ... everyone's appetites will be satisfied.An exhilarating modern classic, now available in a beautiful new hardback edition as part of the VMC set for adult and young adult readers.Sarah Waters was born in Wales. She has won a Betty Trask Award and the Somerset Maugham Award, and her books have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. Tipping the Velvet, Affinity, Fingersmith and The Night Watch have been adapted for television. Sarah Waters has been named Author of the Year four times: by the British Book Awards, the Booksellers' Association, Waterstone's Booksellers and the Stonewall Awards. She lives in London.

A classic coming-of-age story

'Piercing the shadows of the naked stage was a single shaft of rosy limelight, and in the centre of this was a girl: the most marvellous girl - I knew it at once! - that I had ever seen.'

A saucy, sensuous and multi-layered historical romance set in the 'roaring' 1890s, Tipping the Velvet follows the glittering career of Nan King on her journey from Whitstable oyster-girl to star of the music hall to cross-dressing rentboy to East End 'tom'.

Collect the series
[thumbnails of all 6 books]

Beautiful, collectible hardback as part of the VMC Generation set of 6 coming-of-age classics for adult and young adult readers.Will be much admired and coveted by booksellers and readers as previous VMC hardback series have been.All of Sarah Waters' novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers and over half a million copies of her books have been sold in the UK.A cult classic, filmed for the BBC.www.sarahwaters.com